More annals of correlations wrongly attributed as causation: The more equal women and men are, the less they want the same things

I can’t believe that Science published this without referees strenuously objecting and recommending that the language be modified. But I guess in academia clickbait is becoming the norm, too. And nothing is more clickbaitable than “men from Mars, women from Venus.”  Here’s the summary from LA Times, it has a link to the paper.

The findings, published Thursday in Science, suggest that on the contrary, gender differences across six key personality traits — altruism, trust, risk, patience, and positive and negative reciprocity — increase in richer and more gender-equal societies. Meanwhile, in societies that are poorer and less egalitarian, these gender differences shrink.“Fulfilling basic needs is gender neutral,” said Johannes Hermle, a graduate student in economics at UC Berkeley who worked on the study. However, once those basic needs like food, shelter and good health are met and people are free to follow their own ambitions, the differences between men and women become more pronounced, he said.

And maybe Hermle was misquoted or selectively quoted, but to say something like: “Fulfilling basic needs is gender neutral” sounds like something someone who has never lived in a poor country would say. His idea of poor people in poor countries is that they have been dropped on a Pacific island as in Survivor or Naked and Afraid.

I do like how the reporter used two sentences to say the same thing.

Source: The more equal women and men are, the less they want the same things, study finds – Los Angeles Times

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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