Tuesday, October 20, 2020

One of Friedrich Hayek’s most important arguments pointed to the epistemic advantages of the price system, which incorporates the information held by numerous, dispersed, uncoordinated people

Sunstein, Cass R., Hayekian Behavioral Economics (October 19, 2020). SSRN: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3714750

Abstract: One of Friedrich Hayek’s most important arguments pointed to the epistemic advantages of the price system, which incorporates the information held by numerous, dispersed people. Like John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Hayek also offered an epistemic argument on behalf of freedom of choice. He emphasized that outsiders know much less than choosers do, which means that interferences with personal freedom, by those outsiders, will make choosers worse off. A contemporary challenge to that epistemic argument comes from behavioral economics, which has uncovered an assortment of reasons why choosers err, and also pointed to possible distortions in the price system. But even if those findings are accepted, what should outsiders do? How should they proceed? A neo-Hayekian approach would seek to reduce the knowledge problem by asking not what outsiders want, but what individual choosers actually do under epistemically favorable conditions. In practice, that question can be disciplined by asking five subsidiary questions: (1) What do consistent choosers, unaffected by self-evidently irrelevant factors, end up choosing? (2) What do informed choosers choose? (3) What do active choosers choose? (4) In circumstances in which people are free of behavioral biases, including (say) present bias or unrealistic optimism, what do they choose? (5) What do people choose when their viewscreen is broad, and they do not suffer from limited attention? These kinds of questions can be answered empirically. An ongoing program of research, coming from a diverse assortment of people, explores these questions, and can be seen to be producing a form of Hayekian behavioral economics – Hayekian in the sense that it can claim to be respectful of Hayek’s fundamental concerns. These conclusions are illustrated with reference to the controversy over fuel economy standards, with an acknowledgement that on broadly Hayekian grounds, the best approach might be to inform consumers of potential savings, while using a corrective tax to control externalities.

Men’s concern about failing to meet masculine standards leads them to embrace policies & politicians that signal strength and toughness—or what we term political aggression

Precarious Manhood Predicts Support for Aggressive Policies and Politicians. Sarah H. DiMuccio, Eric D. Knowles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, October 13, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220963577

Abstract: Precarious manhood (PM) theory posits that males are expected to actively maintain their reputations as “real men.” We propose that men’s concern about failing to meet masculine standards leads them to embrace policies and politicians that signal strength and toughness—or what we term political aggression. Three correlational studies support this claim. In Study 1, men’s fear of failing to meet masculine expectations predicted their support for aggressive policies (e.g., the death penalty), but not policies lacking aggressive features (e.g., affirmative action). Studies 2 and 3 utilized Google searches to assess the relationship between regional levels of PM and real-world electoral behavior. The use of search terms related to masculine anxieties correlated with Donald Trump’s vote share in the 2016 general election (Study 2) and, confirming preregistered predictions, with Republican candidates’ vote shares in 2018 congressional elections (Study 3). We close by discussing potential sources of variation in PM.

Keywords: precarious manhood, masculinity, aggression, political attitudes, voting

An Alternative Account of Anti-Effeminacy Bias: Reputation Concerns and Lack of Coalitional Value Explain Honor-Oriented Men’s Reluctance to Befriend Feminine Men

An Alternative Account of Anti-Effeminacy Bias: Reputation Concerns and Lack of Coalitional Value Explain Honor-Oriented Men’s Reluctance to Befriend Feminine Men. Pelin Gul, Ayse K. Uskul. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, October 17, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220963665

Abstract: Anti-effeminacy bias follows a specific pattern with men showing stronger anti-effeminacy bias against male targets than women. Previous explanations focused on men’s higher tendency to stigmatize feminine men as homosexual and motives to maintain a dominant group status. Here, we suggest that certain expressions of anti-effeminacy bias may rather be a manifestation of men’s reputation management motives for coalition formation, and be amplified among high (vs. low) masculine honor-oriented men. In three studies with samples from the United Kingdom and Turkey, we showed that men perceived feminine (vs. masculine) male targets as lower on coalitional value and were more reluctant to befriend them, yet this applied only to high (not low) honor-oriented men. Honor-oriented men’s friendship reluctance was mediated by concern with losing reputation by association with targets lacking coalitional value. These findings extend understanding of anti-effeminacy bias by drawing attention to men’s reputation concerns for coalitional reasons and individual differences.

Keywords: anti-effeminacy bias, friendship, coalitional psychology, masculine honor, reputation concerns

This research examined a novel mechanism through which men express anti-effeminacy bias, focusing on friendship reluctance as a particular expression. Drawing on the CVT (Winegard et al., 2016) and research on reputation management, we hypothesized that a large part of men’s reluctance to befriend feminine (vs. masculine) men is driven by concern with losing reputation by association with targets lacking masculine coalitional value (e.g., toughness, strength, dominance). Moreover, based on the masculine honor as an individual difference perspective (Saucier & McManus, 2014), we proposed this mechanism to be amplified among men who strongly endorse masculine honor ideals, as these are men who are dispositionally sensitive to protecting their own reputation.

Across three studies, using samples from the United Kingdom and Turkey, results provided support for our hypotheses. Study 1 showed that perceiving feminine (vs. masculine) targets as lacking coalitional value in masculine tasks (e.g., strength, toughness, dominance) explained men’s reluctance to befriend them. Studies 2 and 3 extended the coalitional value account by demonstrating that concern with reputation loss by association with feminine targets is another important mechanism through which men express anti-effeminacy bias. Importantly, all three studies showed that these relationships applied more strongly to men who endorsed high (vs. low) levels of masculine honor. Furthermore, Study 1 showed that findings were unique to men’s evaluation of male targets, but did not generalize to female perceivers or female targets, and Study 3 confirmed that feminine male targets were perceived as lacking coalitional value only with regard to tasks that require typically masculine traits and skills, but not those that would require other traits and skills. Finally, we ruled out alternative explanations for our findings by showing that perceived homosexuality did not predict men’s reluctance to befriend feminine targets (all studies), and that our proposed mechanism continued to hold after controlling for participants’ similarity to the targets and social dominance orientation (Studies 2 and 3).

Theoretical Contributions

The present research offers a significant contribution to our understanding of anti-effeminacy bias. The central finding of the present research is that certain expressions of anti-effeminacy bias such as friendship reluctance may be a manifestation of men’s reputation management concerns. Importantly, we found this to be the case only for high honor-oriented men. In contrast, in some cases, low honor-oriented men reported that being seen affiliated with a feminine (vs. masculine) man would even increase their reputation, and reported higher desire to befriend him. Unlike the predominant explanations of anti-effeminacy bias which were not designed to differentiate between individuals (precarious manhood hypothesis, see Bosson et al., 2012status incongruity hypothesis, see Moss-Racusin et al., 2010), our findings highlight the importance of considering individual differences in dispositions and motives, and caution against treating men as a homogeneous group when examining anti-effeminacy bias.

Our research also contributes to the literature on masculine honor from an individual difference perspective. We showed that, despite the classification of Turkey and the United Kingdom as “honor” and “dignity” cultures, respectively, in both cultures, only high (not low) honor-oriented men’s reputation concern by association with feminine targets manifested as a tendency to avoid befriending them. These results are consistent with Shackelford’s (2005) suggestion that men in all cultures have the psychological mechanisms that promote attending to personal reputations, yet these mechanisms can be differentially activated depending on individuals’ own dispositions as well as the threats and opportunities afforded by particular social situations. Note that, however, our aim was not to test whether activation of reputation concerns and its manifestation as anti-effeminacy bias would generalize to men in all cultures. Such a test would require evidence from a diverse set of cultures.

In addition, our research showed that men who value masculine honor are not limited to protecting their reputation through aggressive and confrontational behaviors as most studies to date have shown (e.g., Barnes et al., 2012Saucier et al., 2016Vandello et al., 2008). Here, we have shown that men can also protect their reputation through subtle behaviors such as avoiding friendships with feminine men. Thus, our research directs attention to a different strategy through which men can protect their reputation in the everyday life, and adds to a limited number of studies investigating nonaggressive ways of maintaining reputation by individuals who value masculine honor ideals.

Limitations and Future Research Directions

Limitations of this study included reliance of only self-report measures and the use of scenarios describing hypothetical target persons. Behavioral laboratory measures (e.g., sitting distance, eye contact) would help test whether participants’ behaviors coincide with their self-reported evaluations. Nevertheless, using scenarios enabled us to systematically vary the variable of primary interest—target’s gender expression—and provided important insights from two cultural groups into psychological mechanisms underlying anti-effeminacy bias.

Another limitation is that we used a single conceptualization of anti-effeminacy bias—unwillingness to be friends—which is often considered a voluntary association between people. Future studies may examine whether reputation concerns manifest in biased preferences when interacting with coworkers or kin, as well as other more direct expressions of anti-effeminacy bias such as punishment, exclusion, or derogation.

When assessing participants’ reputation concerns in Study 2, the outgroup members (male strangers) were not described as aggressive rivals who can cause harm to the participants. If these other male strangers were presented as outgroup aggressors, participants’ concern with losing reputation for formidability could become more salient and predict men’s reluctance to befriend feminine men. Thus, future research may find that depending on social situations, self-protection motives could also drive certain expressions of anti-effeminacy bias in addition to motives for coalition formation.

Our findings also have implications for understanding the functional basis of antigay bias. Previous research has suggested that homophobic attitudes and expressions are strategic attempts to prevent the risk of contamination from pathogens (see Filip-Crawford, & Neuberg, 2016). However, our research suggests that, at least to the extent that homosexual targets have visible cues of effeminacy, certain behavioral indicators of antigay bias (such as avoiding affiliation with gay men) may be strategic attempts to prevent reputation risk. Future research would benefit from studying different manifestations of antigay bias (avoidance vs. aggression) by manipulating the target’s sexual activity (gay vs. straight sex) and gender conformity (masculine vs. feminine appearance) to provide a more nuanced understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying different types of antigay bias.

Our proposed mechanism of anti-effeminacy bias applied only to highly masculine honor-oriented men and was specific to coalitional value in traditionally masculine tasks which require traits such as strength, courage, toughness, and dominance. However, we would like to stress that masculine traits and skills are not the only ways men can bring coalitional value. There are as many valuable traits, skills, and abilities as there are many different types of teams and coalitions in society. What traits an academic or a business team would value in a man would be different than what a male rugby team would value in a teammate. As shown here in Study 3 and by Winegard et al. (2016), the coalitional value account did not hold when men evaluated the coalitional value of feminine targets in tasks whose success does not require masculine skills (business, chess, poetry). Accordingly, we assume that anti-effeminacy bias may become nonexistent in coalitional contexts in which success would require traits such as empathy, creativity, intellectual, and verbal abilities. Other than raising awareness about anti-effeminacy bias, creating and encouraging the existence of occupations and activities, which require a diverse set of socially important skills for achieving success other than traditional masculinity, may help reducing bias against feminine men. Future studies are needed to follow up on these suggestions and implications of the current research.

An analysis of 40 low-income and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region: it is during early adolescence where marked gender inequalities in health and wellbeing consistently emerged

Gender inequalities in health and wellbeing across the first two decades of life: an analysis of 40 low-income and middle-income countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Elissa Kennedy et al. The Lancet Global Health, October 19, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30354-5


Background: By adulthood, gender inequalities in health and wellbeing are apparent. Yet, the timing and nature of gender inequalities during childhood and adolescence are less clear. We describe the emergence of gender inequalities in health and wellbeing across the first two decades of life.

Methods: We focused on the 40 low-income and middle-income countries in Asia and the Pacific. A measurement framework was developed around four key domains of wellbeing across the first two decades: health, education and transition to employment, protection, and a safe environment. Specific measurement constructs were then defined by considering gender indicator frameworks, the Sustainable Development Goals, indicator frameworks for child and adolescent health and wellbeing, and key stakeholder input. Available data were then mapped to define 87 indicators, subsequently populated using databases (UN agencies and the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study) and nationally representative surveys. Where possible, estimates in girls were compared with boys to report relative risks.

Findings: Although son preference is evident in some settings—as shown by higher than expected male-to-female sex ratios at birth in India, Vietnam, and China (all >1·10 compared with an expected ratio of 1·05) and excess mortality of girl children in some South Asian and Pacific nations—it is during early adolescence where marked gender inequalities consistently emerged. Adolescent girls face considerable disadvantage in relation to sexual and reproductive health (notably in South Asia and the Pacific), with high rates of child marriage (≥30% of women aged 20–24 years married before 18 years in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Afghanistan), fertility (≥65 livebirths per 1000 girls in Nauru, Laos, Afghanistan, Nepal, Marshall Islands, Bangladesh, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea), and intimate partner violence (>20% in Timor Leste, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Myanmar). Despite educational parity in many countries, females aged 15–24 years were less likely than males to be in education, employment, or training in 17 of 19 countries for which data were available. Compared with girls, adolescent boys experienced excess all-cause mortality and substantially higher mortality due to unintentional injury, interpersonal violence, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide, and higher prevalence of harmful drinking and tobacco smoking.

Interpretation: These findings call for a focus on gender policy and programming in later childhood and early adolescence before gender inequalities become embedded.


Son preference remains evident in some settings, signified by higher than expected male-to-female sex ratios at birth in India, Vietnam, and China (which might indicate prenatal sex determination and sex-selective abortion), and a higher than expected mortality among female children in some South Asian and Pacific nations. Gender inequalities in other indicators of wellbeing across early childhood were otherwise not observed; gains made in child mortality, undernutrition, and primary education have been, for the most part, equally shared by boys and girls in this region. Progress, however, has not continued through the second decade of life, with gender inequalities in wellbeing emerging most markedly and increasing during adolescence.
Adolescent girls continue to face considerable disadvantage in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights, including protection from child marriage and intimate partner violence. Despite near universal commitments to end child marriage, a substantial proportion of girls in the Asia-Pacific region were married by age 18 years, and rates of adolescent childbearing remain high in many countries. Girls have poor access to modern contraception and experienced high rates of intimate partner and sexual violence. Discrimination and disadvantage affecting girls was most notable in South Asia, reflected in the highest rates of child marriage, adolescent births, intimate partner violence, and suicide mortality, and lower education participation and completion. Despite having achieved educational parity in many countries, girls are not transitioning to further training or employment at the same rate as boys. Unpaid domestic work, early parenthood, and care-giving responsibilities are likely to be important contributors to girls' unemployment, suggesting that despite improved education participation, girls commonly remain in traditional gender roles following school completion and experience profound gendered barriers to participation in paid employment.
Adolescent boys have greater all-cause mortality and substantially higher mortality due to unintentional injury, interpersonal violence, and alcohol and other drugs, and higher prevalence of harmful drinking and tobacco smoking. In all but some South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan), boys also had substantially higher rates of suicide mortality than their female counterparts. Although rates of upper secondary school participation and completion were similar for boys and girls in most countries, boys were more likely to be out of school in several East and Southeast Asian and Pacific countries, and were more likely to be engaged in child labour and hazardous work.
Puberty is transformative in the health and development trajectories of girls and boys. While physical, hormonal, and neurodevelopmental pubertal processes contribute to biological sex differences in some health outcomes and risks, puberty is also characterised by an intensification of gender socialisation, during which gender identity, roles, and norms sharply diverge and take on increasing prominence. These norms are consolidated during adolescence and profoundly shape the lives of adolescents, with consequences for health that extend into adulthood and for the next generation. Gender norms vary across sociocultural contexts; however, common gender stereotypes underpin disadvantage for both girls and boys across the Asia-Pacific region. Underlying patriarchal systems that reinforce gender norms assigning higher status and power to boys over girls, and reward hegemonic (dominant) constructs of masculinity, contribute to boys' risk taking, use of and exposure to violence, and poor care seeking. These same systems police restrictive feminine norms that limit girls' opportunities and agency, and increase vulnerability to harmful practices (such as child marriage), intimate partner violence, and poor sexual and reproductive health.  Non-conformity with rigid norms can lead to sanctions and punishment, which also have negative health and wellbeing outcomes.
These findings substantially extend our understanding of gender inequality during childhood and adolescence. They challenge the narrow focus on women in existing gender indicators, policies, and programmes, and draw attention to the need to prioritise adolescents, an age group where few investments have been made to date. This analysis also highlights the substantial regional and national variation in the impacts of gender inequality, emphasising the need for context-specific programming and policy. Such a response will require investments across many sectors. Action is required to prevent child marriage and adolescent pregnancy; remove policy, financial, and regulatory barriers limiting adolescents' access to sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services; and reform workplaces to address gendered barriers that limit opportunities for girls to enter and remain in employment. Greater attention is also needed to understand and address harmful norms and constructs of masculinity, as these not only contribute to adverse health outcomes and risks for boys into adulthood, but also have profound impacts on girls' health and wellbeing. By early adolescence, girls and boys have attitudes that support gender inequality, and these norms are strongly influenced, and enforced, by family, peers, and societal structures. They are therefore amenable to intervention, with some evidence that gender-transformative approaches combining strategies at the individual, social, and structural level might promote equitable gender attitudes and related behaviours during adolescence.
Measuring and monitoring gender inequality during these key formative years is crucial. Of the 54 gender-sensitive SDG indicators (defined by UN Women), only 13 relate specifically to childhood and adolescence and are focused largely on education, harmful practices affecting girls (child marriage, female genital mutilation), intimate partner and sexual violence, and child labour. A further 16 indicators related to poverty, employment, harassment, trafficking, homicide, and conflict call for disaggregation by sex and age. However, the extent to which these will be reported by both age and sex to allow for gender inequalities in this age group to be identified is unclear. Some key gender differences identified by this analysis (ie, suicide, injury, child mortality, alcohol use, and tobacco smoking) are not currently tracked as gender-sensitive indicators, nor do these SDG indicators explicitly require disaggregation by sex or age. Additionally, current summary measures of societal gender inequality, such as the GII and SIGI, primarily reflect disadvantage and discrimination against adult women. A small number of studies have shown that increasing societal gender inequality is associated with poor child health outcomes.   Although this analysis did not specifically explore the relationship between these indices and gender inequalities in first two decades of life, there was a suggestion that existing gender indices correspond to inequalities in sexual and reproductive health and rights and some indicators of education, but less so to health risk behaviour or injury that predominantly affect males. An index of gender inequality that is specific to children and adolescents represents an important research agenda.
This study has some limitations. We used modelled data to populate some indicators relating to health to improve data coverage, consistent with analyses in the Lancet Series;  however, wide uncertainty estimates for some indicators suggest poor-quality primary data and a heavy reliance on modelling, which might affect our estimated gender inequalities. Nonetheless, it is reassuring that the findings of figure 2 (based on modelled data) are consistent with figure 3 (based largely on primary data). Even with the inclusion of modelled data, some potentially relevant aspects of health and wellbeing were not able to be examined due to the lack of internationally agreed and defined indicators, or lack of data disaggregated by age and sex. These include individual-level measures of poverty, food security, menstrual health, conflict, freedom of movement and share of public spaces, harassment and discrimination, and feeling of safety. There were also fewer indicators available for children than adolescents, and fewer indicators for the domains of protection and safe environment than those of health and education. These gaps, and the limitations of quantitative data to describe gender inequality and its effects, have also been noted by other authors.  The reporting of national data did not allow for important gender inequalities at a subnational level to be identified, or for analysis of intersecting inequalities related to ethnicity, poverty, disability, migrant status, or sexual orientation. Additionally, because of the lack of indicators and national-level comparable data, estimates for individuals with non-cisgender or non-binary identity could not be included, despite the substantial discrimination experienced by young people with diverse gender identity.
This analysis has identified some important gender inequalities and trends emerging in the first two decades of life and further research is required to examine the drivers of gender inequality and gender socialisation, and the sociocultural context of gender norms and impacts in this diverse region. In the immediate term, the alignment of the reporting framework to UNICEF's strategic plan helps to inform gender-responsive programming for children and adolescents. Although the developed framework was specific to the Asia-Pacific region, the heterogeneity of this region in terms of development and societal gender inequality (appendix p 3), coupled with this region being home to more than half of the world's young people, underscores its global relevance.
The SDGs have brought attention to gender equality as a global human right and health and development priority. The current focus on girls' sexual and reproductive health and elimination of harmful practices is well justified, as data from the Asia-Pacific region show that much remains to be achieved. However, there is a need to broaden the measurement and response to gender inequality arising during the first two decades of life, with much greater attention to adolescence as well as the effects of harmful gender norms on boys. The indicators included in this analysis are harmonised with available data collection efforts and might therefore serve as a foundation to this task. Action is clearly required to address the gender norms and structural determinants that not only drive poor sexual and reproductive health for girls, but also contribute to girls' poor outcomes across other domains of health and wellbeing, and underpin the excess mortality and health risks experienced by adolescent boys. Gender inequality remains one of the most pervasive challenges in global health and development. Early adolescence, when gender socialisation intensifies and key gender inequalities emerge, presents a crucial opportunity to address harmful gender norms before they are crystallised, and to advance gender equality for all.

We the ugly can be subject to structurally unjust patterns of sexual desire; the others can be held responsible for correcting this injustice

Sexual Desire and Structural Injustice. Tom O'Shea. Journal of Social Philosophy (forthcoming). Oct 2020. https://philpapers.org/rec/OSHSDA

Rolf Degen's take: https://twitter.com/DegenRolf/status/1318434723962769409

Abstract: This article argues that political injustices can arise from the distribution and character of our sexual desires and that we can be held responsible for correcting these injustices. It draws on a conception of structural injustice to diagnose unjust patterns of sexual attraction, which are taken to arise when socio-structural processes shaping the formation of sexual desire compound systemic domination and capacity-deprivation for the occupants of a social position. Individualistic and structural solutions to the problem of unjust patterns of sexual attraction are assessed in the context of racialised sexual aversion, racial fetishism, and the desexualisation of people with disabilities. While both forms of intervention can help, some of the advantages of structural approaches are laid out. A schema for assigning political responsibilities for addressing this injustice is proposed, with some limits identified to the kinds of state and social responses that are justified. Finally, the status of the merely aesthetically unappealing is considered, with a relational egalitarian approach concluding that they are subject to structurally unjust patterns of sexual desire only when exposed to oppression or second-class citizenship as a result.

Keywords: sexual desire  structural injustice  race  disability  dating  social structure  orectic injustice  sex  online platforms  desire


Is it unjust that some people are less sexually desired than others? We might have sympathy for the sexually undesired but supposing they suffer an outright injustice can seem absurd. My view is that this reaction is too hasty, and that sexually desirability can be a matter of political justice. This is a strong claim, which is likely to invite a torrent of objections, whether for confusing misfortune with injustice, licensing unwarranted political meddling, indulging in sexual moralism, or asking the impossible of us. But I shall suggest a compelling social philosophy of sexual attraction can be articulated by considering the scope and character of sexual desires through the lens of structural injustice, while looking to collective and political rather than primarily individual and ethical remedies to the problem of unjust desire.

Sexual desirability is not a resource which can or should be doled out to the needy; nor is there a duty to desire, or a right to be so desired. Yet, sexual attractiveness matters in many of our lives – potentially influencing not only our opportunities for sexual intimacy, but our self-respect, social standing, and access to romantic relationships. Going sexually undesired or under-desired can compound disadvantage in these respects. Mere disadvantage, however, is not sufficient for political injustice. Instead, I shall argue there can be grounds of justice for holding people responsible for transforming the socio-structural processes which shape the distribution and character of sexual desires when these processes underpin domination and deprivation.