Political Demands at Princeton

After the death of Michael Brown in August of 2014 in Ferguson, MO, Black protest groups began issuing demands to cities and police departments to address police use of force and other issues with the criminal justice system. By Fall of 2015, issuing demands was a common tactic among student groups as well, with demands published by student groups at at least 80 colleges across the country.

Students graduate and get jobs, so it was not entirely surprising that issuing demands would be used as a protest technique among these now older protesters. In July 2020 there have been two notable demands, one from theater artists, and another from faculty and staff at Princeton.

I collected the signatories of this demand letter and categorized them by their department affiliations as STEM, humanities, sociology, or administrative. The groups are:


Surprisingly about $\frac{1}{3}$ of the signatories are from STEM fields. The Sociology category includes Economics, so the portion of mathematically oriented fields is even higher. STEM seems to be scumming to Wokeness, just a bit more slowly.

One other interesting observation starts with this demand, #3 in the “Faculty Level” section:

Give substantial FTE to those departments and programs with a track record of supporting faculty of color, such as Gender and Sexuality Studies, American Studies (Latinx, Asian), African American Studies, the Lewis Center for the Arts, and Anthropology.

The departments that would benefit from this demand account for 17% of the signatories. From a quick tally of the faculty pages of the departments, at least 70% of the staff in these departments signed the letter.

Replicating Incels

The Institute for Family Studies is running an article about Incels, Male Sexlessness is Rising But Not for the Reasons Incels Claim, which uses data from the General Social Survey. The GSS is easy to process and use, so I decided to try to replicate the chart in the article

That’s a very steep increase from 2010, and I’m skeptical, especially because, as the article notes, the rise is not supported by NHANES nor NSFG.

The only solid information I could find about how the GSS data is processed is at the botton of the chart:

NHANES and GSSS pooling on samples on 2 years of each side of the label year. … GSS “Never Married”,

To do this analysis, I used the GSS Data Explorer to extract these variables:

year      Gss year for this respondent                       
sexfreq   Frequency of sex during last year
partners  How many sex partners r had in last year
marital   Marital status
id_       Respondent id number

You can download the data package from my GSS project for this analysis .

Based on the comment on the chart, the analysis process:

  • Extract the records for males who are never married and between 22 and 35 years old, inclusive.
  • Group by year and count the number of respondents who report no sex in last year for sexual frequency
  • Group by year and count the number of respondents who report no sex partners in last year
  • Average the two previous counts, per year.
  • Compute the 5 year rolling average of the counts
  • Divide the rolling average by the number of respondents

The query to extract the sub-group of respondents is:

"year >= 1988 and marital == 'Never married' and sex == 'Male' and age >=22 and age<= 35 "

The result is a completely different chart.

I’m not sure what the difference is, but either I or the IFS author, or both, made some errors in the analysis.

Replace the Nonprofit Tax Deduction

One of my long-term irritations with nonprofits is that donors can get deductions for donations to organizations that don’t have as much social impact as other organizations. I don’t think that donations to most large-city symphonies, or yet another $100M to Harvard, makes much of a social difference, but the donor gets the same tax incentive as donations to other, high-impact organizations.

One way to solve this problem, and tackle a few others as well, would be to replace the standard nonprofit tax deduction with a sliding scale deduction based on impact.

The idea is to create a system of standards bodies that can evaluate the impact of a nonprofit’s operation, a bit like Underwriter’s Lab and Consumer Reports, but for social good. These organizations would audit a nonprofit’s operations and assign it to an “impact class.” Then, the deductions to the organization would be higher for organizations in higher impact classes. There would probably have to be retroactive consideration, so a donor who contributes to a new, unproven project could get a tax break after a program is proven to be successful.

A system like this would solve a lot of problems: it would use a market-based approach to pushing donations to the most valuable programs, so good programs would get more funding, it would force nonprofits to run high-quality evaluation programs, and whole sectors would benefit from having excellent cross-organization data, allowing donors to make direct comparisons.

Well, We Warned You

Last September, Columbia Journalism Review reported on American’s low and declining trust in the media. In hope of exposing some reason for hope, they asked if that trust might be restored, and about 75% said it could be, if the media improved accuracy by “not reporting stories before [a news outlet] verifies all the facts and being willing to correct mistakes it makes”

Clearly, media outlets carefully considered that advice while writing stories about Covington High School.

Testosterone and Cognitive Function

Finding one article on pre-natal exposure to testosterone and giftedness, I figured that this was probably only one paper showing a tentative connection. Then I found all of the other papers.

No connection with Testosterone: http://tc.engr.wisc.edu/steuber/SophJrSr/papers/2008/HonorableLohrentz.pdf

Related to the co-twin study: JAMA and Archives Journals (2007, December 4). Males With A Female Twin May Be At Higher Risk For Anorexia Nervosa.

Economic Notes On Manufacturing

The US has been shedding manufacturing jobs since about 2000. ( Not 1970 as many people believe . ) 


But, a capital spending report for the same period shows that capital spending has not dropped:


Furthermore, manufacturing revenue has been climbing over the period, but income after tax has stayed fairly flat. 

So, if the manufacturing companies are spending less on people, the same amount on machines but not getting more income, where is the additional expense? They could be spending more on raw materials, but the other possibility is that they are spending more on services, in the form of outsourced labor. For instance, instead of hiring janitors directly, they hire a janitorial services firm. In this case, the same number of people are being hired, but the job is shifted from “manufacturing” to “services.” I’m not sure about the details of this effect, but it does mean that the decline in manufacturing jobs may not be as great as it appears. 

Posted via email from Eric’s posterous