Thursday, May 20, 2021

Norway: Our study does therefore not indicate a decline in intercourse frequency, as suggested in some countries

Sexual intercourse activity and activities associated with sexual interaction in Norwegians of different sexual orientations and ages. Bente Traeen, Nantje Fischer & Ingela Lundin Kvalem. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, May 19 2021.

Abstract: To study different subgroups of Norwegians’ frequency of sexual intercourse and the activities that Norwegians engage in during intercourse. Data were collected from a questionnaire survey of a representative web sample of 4,160 Norwegians aged 18 to 89 years. The response rate was 35%. The majority of men (65%) and women (61%) reported sexual intercourse activity during the past month, and it was most common to report such activity 2 or 3 times per month. Partnered participants most often reported having intercourse weekly. The intercourse frequency of 2 to 3 times per week declined from 35% in participants aged 18 to 29 years to 8% in participants 60 years and older. The most common heterosexual activities reported were vaginal sex, stimulated genitals with the hands or mouth, use of sex toys, and anal sex. Younger and middle-aged Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual, Intersex, Asexual [LGBTIA] men most often reported activities such as mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex. Younger and middle-aged LGBTIA women most frequently reported mutual masturbation, vaginal sex, and oral sex. There seems to be a generational shift in types of activities in participants 59 years or younger, and those 60 years and above.

Keywords: Sexual intercoursesexual diversitysexual activitiesquantitative researchNorway


Of all participants, the majority of men (65%) and women (61%) reported sexual intercourse activity during the past month, most commonly 2 or 3 times during that period. Partnered participants most frequently reported having intercourse on a weekly basis. Furthermore, the intercourse frequency of 2 to 3 times per week declined between partnered participants aged 18 to 29 years (35%) and 60+ years (8%). It was most common for partnered participants aged 60+ years to have intercourse 2 to 3 times per month. Younger and middle-aged LGBTIA men most often reported engaging in mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex. Irrespective of age, LGBTIA women reported mutual masturbation, vaginal sex, and oral sex. In all age groups of heterosexuals, the most frequently reported activities were vaginal sex, mutual masturbation, and oral sex.

Prevalences compared

The results from this study further indicate that partnered Norwegian adults have about the same sexual intercourse frequency as those in several other Western countries, with an average of 1 to 2 times per week (Badcock et al., 2014; Kontula, 2015; Mercer et al., 2013; Ueda et al., 2020). This also corresponds to a previous Norwegian dyadic study (Stabell et al., 2008). Our study does therefore not indicate a decline in intercourse frequency, as suggested in some countries (Beutel et al., 2018; de Visser et al., 2014; Kontula, 2015; Mercer et al., 2013; Ueda et al., 2020). Furthermore, the finding that intercourse frequency reduces with increasing age, is also confirmed by previous studies (Corona et al., 2010; DeLamater & Moorman, 2007; Herbenick et al., 2010b; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2009; Lee et al., 2016; Lewin, 2000; Mercer et al., 2013; Palacios-Ceña et al., 2012). Compared to gender and sexual orientation, access to a partner was more relevant as a predictor of sexual intercourse frequency. This supports findings of previous studies which show that access to a regular partner to have sex with is the most important factor for frequency of sexual intercourse (DeLamater, 2012; Field et al., 2013; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2009; Schwartz et al., 2014; Traeen et al., 2019). It seems plausible to assume, sexual intercourse frequency is most meaningfully studied in partnered individuals. Lastly, our findings also correspond well to an Australian study by Richters et al. (2014), who reported that approximately 15% of heterosexual men and 21% of women had used sex toys.

Sexual orientation differences

We found that in all age groups of heterosexuals, the most frequently reported activities were vaginal sex, mutual masturbation, and oral sex. In LGBTIA men under the age of 60 years it was most often reported having engaged in mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex, whereas LGBTIA women younger than 60 years reported mutual masturbation, vaginal sex, and oral sex. The most reported sexual activities during most recent intercourse by male LGBTIA participants younger than 60 years, correspond to what has been found among U.S. gay and bisexual men (Rosenberger et al., 2011). Likewise, the sexual activities of female LGBTIA participants correspond to Bailey et al. (2003) study of British lesbian and bisexual women. Furthermore, previous studies have shown that sexual minority persons have more diverse and varied sexual practices than heterosexuals (Bailey et al., 2003; Herbenick et al.; Rosenberger et al., 2011). This could indicate that sexual minority groups may be more inclined to accept sexual practices beyond vaginal intercourse, than heterosexuals, who still prefer vaginal intercourse (Diorio, 2016). Kontula and Haavio-Mannila (1995), have also suggested that the gay subculture is more permissive than the heterosexual and may not share the heterosexual love script where love legitimizes sexual intercourse and vaginal penetration is essential. Within such a permissive subculture, pleasure theory (Abramson & Pinkerton, 2002), may provide another explanation for the observed differences in sexual activities. According to pleasure theory, search for sexual pleasure is seen as the main drive for seeking varied sexual practices, also with more or less casual partners (Matsick et al., 2021). Differences in sexual activity between men and women of different sexual orientation may thus be a result of differences in whether the sexual encounter is connected to love or solely to hedonistic pleasure.

Age/cohort effects

In line with previous studies (Bajos et al., 2010; de Visser et al., 2014; Kontula, 2015; Mercer et al., 2013; Vanwesenbeeck et al., 2010), we found an increase in sexual diversity and repertoires, particularly among the younger generations, as reflected in sexual activities during the most recent intercourse. Characteristic of younger participants was having mutual masturbation, oral sex, and a partner who reached orgasm during intercourse. It appears that younger Norwegians have expanded the traditional repertoire by focusing on vaginal penetration and including foreplay, oral sex, sex toys, and anal sex during sexual intercourse. Similar results were reported in British (Mercer et al., 2013) and Australian (Rissel et al., 2014) studies. Sex has become more varied over generations. Cohort effects exist as people from different generations construct their specific social reality. It needs to be mentioned that the oldest participants in this study (70 years old or more) were teenagers prior to the so-called Sexual Revolution, whereas participants less than 70 years-old, had their teenage years during, or after, this period. This is likely to have influenced their attitudes and behaviour (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 1995; Traeen & Stigum, 1998). Specifically, having been socialised in a sexually liberated climate could have influenced the individual to develop liberal sexual practices. It is also likely that the openness in the media about sex, and the easy access to pornography on the Internet, have encouraged experimentation with new sexual practices, normalised behaviours, by changing sexual attitudes (Wright, 2020). Furthermore, most participants in this study had their most recent sexual intercourse with a committed partner, and the availability of a committed partner will affect the type of social environment the sex takes place in, and the degree to which those who interact sexually feel safe and self-secure. This is likely partly to explain the varied sexual activities engaged in over the course of life, and during the most recent intercourse.

Kinsey’s studies of American sexual behaviour in the 1950s showed that people’s sexual behaviour and habits were more diverse than what was commonly believed (Kinsey et al., 19481953). In the era of social competence (Lyttkens, 1987), being a socially competent individual includes a frequent and varied sex-life (Traeen, 2008). According to this largely media created image of a successful sex-life, we are not only supposed to have sex several times per week, but also preferably multiple orgasms, experiment with sex-toys, and have parallel partners. As measured in orgasm frequency, and the (lack of) sexual activities that stimulate the clitoris, Norwegian non-partnered heterosexual women still have the potential to expand their opportunities to achieve pleasure.


Previous response rates for Norwegian sexual behaviour surveys were 23% in 2008, 34% in 2002, 38% in 1997, 48% in 1992, and 63% in 1987 (Traeen & Stigum, 2010). Thus, a low response rate seems to be increasingly more common in Norwegian questionnaire surveys. However, the rate in the present survey is higher than that in the 2008 survey. Based on the survey in 1992, Stigum (1997) concluded that dropouts were not related to sexual behaviour, and that dropouts were random rather than systematic. It was also concluded that dropouts in the 1997 and 2002 surveys were not likely to be biased (Traeen et al., 2003). Unfortunately, we have no information on non-respondents in this study, which means that we cannot compare demographic characteristics of responders and non-responders to get an idea of potential bias. When comparing results from this study with previous Norwegian sex surveys, there is reason to believe that dropouts in this survey are also random rather than systematic. Furthermore, in our sample, 38% of the participants had more than 14 years of education. In all sexual behaviour surveys in Norway, the response rate to date has been the highest among the most educated. According to official statistics 2018 by the Central Bureau of Statistics, 34.1% of the Norwegian population aged 16 years or older have a high level of education. This indicates that our sample is slightly, although not severely, biased in this regard.

Comparing the results from this study to other studies is difficult due to the age composition of various studies. Furthermore, the low number of LGBTIA persons in the study also represents a limitation, and statistics should be interpreted with caution. Lastly, there is always a possibility that an average intercourse frequency of 1–2 time/week represents a perceived norm based on general and media assumptions, and that the participants avoid coming across as under- or over-performing. If this is the case, the responses may be subject to a social desirability bias.

We expect employers to reward effort even if the employers knew output was determined by luck; when effort is unobservable, we work harder if the employer doesn't know earnings are determined by luck

Effort Provision in a Game of Luck. Mads Nordmo Arnestad, Kristoffer W. Eriksen, Ola Kvaløy and Bjørnar Laurila. Front. Psychol., May 20 2021.

Abstract: In some jobs, the correlation between effort and output is almost zero. For instance, money managers are primarily paid for luck. Using a controlled lab experiment, we examined under which conditions workers are willing to put in effort even if the output (and thus their employer’s earnings) is determined by pure luck. We varied whether the employer could observe the workers’ effort, as well as whether the employer knows that earnings were determined by luck. We find that, workers believed that the employer will reward their effort even if their effort does not affect earnings. Consequently, workers work harder if the employer could observe their (unproductive) effort. Moreover, even when the employer only saw earnings and not effort, workers labored harder if the employer did not know that earnings were determined by luck.


Our experimental results provide support for all four hypotheses:

1. Most subjects exerted positive effort even when effort was unproductive.

2. They exerted more effort when effort was observable.

3. They expected employers to reward effort even if the employers knew output was determined by luck.

4. In the case where effort was unobservable, subjects worked harder if the employer did not know earnings were determined by luck.

The latter results were driven by female workers, reflecting past research suggesting that females place an overall higher personal value on effort (McCrea et al., 2008). It is important to note that we did not expect a gender difference at the outset of the experiment. As such, there is a relevant chance that the observed relationship reflects a random effect. However, we find that the result ties in with a greater stream of research indicating that female research participants demonstrate a stronger general tendency to portray themselves in a socially desirable manner (see Dalton and Ortegren, 2011).

To the best of our knowledge, these results are novel. The effect of noise on effort provision has been explored before, but no past studies have looked at effort provision in a setting where the correlation between effort and outcome is zero. Similarly, the relationship between observable effort and judgments of character has been explored numerous times but never in a setting where the futility of effort is common knowledge. Even in cases where effort was completely unrelated to outcomes, participants in this study tended to obey a work ethic heuristic. This was especially true when effort was observable, suggesting the work ethic heuristic has less to do with outcomes and more to do with social signaling. Our participants also expected to be rewarded for effort, even if the lack of relationship between effort and outcomes was common knowledge. This implies our participants expected that the work ethic heuristic was shared among their peers and that those who followed it would be rewarded for doing so, regardless of the outcome. While all participants exerted effort as an outward social signal when effort was observable, female participants also exerted effort as an inward social signal by working hard even when effort was unobservable.

There are some other possible reasons why the research participants chose to exert unproductive effort. Experimenter demand-effect may have prompted some of the participants to work. Similarly, boredom could be a motivating factor. While we cannot rule out these factors completely, we nevertheless believe that their role in the observed relationships is limited. Firstly, the demand effect or boredom effect would have been equal across treatments. Secondly, the participants were told that they were allowed to use their phones when they had finished working. As such, they would most likely have found alleviation from boredom more effectively by surfing the web rather than working at a mindless task which was explicitly unrelated to outcomes.

We instead interpret our results in the light of a work-ethic heuristic; the simplified view that effort is always preferable to less effort. As a general rule in life, people will observe that effort is related to outcomes, and outcomes are related to rewards. As such, most adults will approach any novel task with an implicit understanding that their performance can be improved with effort, and that good performances will be rewarded. This relationship is further cemented by cultural norms and practices that elevate the moral value of hard work, and condemn the sin of sloth and inactivity. The combined effects of cultural norms and intra-personal learning makes people behave in a way that is consistent with a work-ethic heuristic. In our experiment, however, effort was unrelated to performance. This demonstrates that the work-ethic heuristic, like most heuristics, is useful and adaptive in the normal set of circumstances, but lead to unproductive behaviors in different circumstances. As a general rule, reliance on the heuristic is beneficial at both the individual, organizational and societal level. However, in the few but notable cases where effort is unrelated to outcomes, the consequence of continued reliance on the work-ethic heuristic depends on the perceived cost of effort. If the workers experienced cost of effort is negative, reliance on the work-ethic heuristic will still produce a favorable outcome. However, if the experienced cost of effort is positive, as we argue it was in our experiment, continued reliance on the work-ethic heuristic leads to waste of resources.

Our experimental design is rather stylized. In the real world, neither workers nor employers will have full knowledge about the relationship between effort and output, and they will typically hold beliefs that effort—to some extent or in some cases—leads to higher performance. However, these lab experiments offered the advantage of an environment where only luck mattered and where we could control whether and to whom this information was available. This helps rule out confounding factors that may matter in real world environments where luck is important but not definitively. Additionally, it allows us to rule out standard economic theory as potential explanations for the results we achieved.

Bystanders are more sympathetic of female victims of physical assault than male victims; dangerous emergencies do not always affect diffusion of responsibility as extant research suggests

Revisiting the gender-relations debate in the violent murder of Kitty Genovese: Another side of gender-bias favoring women in bystander reactions to emergencies. Chima Agazue. Aggression and Violent Behavior, Volume 58, May–June 2021, 101610.


• Gender does not always affect bystanders' reactions to physical assaults.

• Bystanders are more sympathetic of female victims of physical assault than male victims.

• Dangerous emergencies do not always affect diffusion of responsibility as extant research suggests.

Abstract: The murder of Catherine (Kitty) Genovese in New York in 1964 by Winston Moseley has generated numerous academic publications. One of the major focal points in the debates is the role of gender in bystanders' reactions to violent incidents. Some analysts drew on experiments that found that men did not intervene in incidents involving a man as a perpetrator and a woman as a victim to explain the lack of intervention in the incident by the so-called 38 bystanders falsely reported by The New York Times in 1964. This current article analyzed three videos containing four different assaults that occurred on the busy streets of Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom to assess whether the gender of the perpetrators and victims affected bystanders' reactions or not. In Incident 1 and Incident 2 involving men as perpetrators with female victims, none of the male and female bystanders physically intervened. In Incident 3 involving a man as a perpetrator and a woman as his victim, both male and female bystanders intervened to save the victim. However, in Incident 4 involving a woman as a perpetrator with a male victim, nobody intervened instead, some of the bystanders laughed at the male victim. The article concludes that whilst gender seemed to have determined intervention in Incident 3 (saving a female victim from a violent man) and its lack in Incident 4 (leaving a male victim to save himself from a violent woman), other factors could be responsible for lack of intervention in Incident 1 and Incident 2 and these include the duration of the assault, the level of violence applied by the perpetrator and bystanders' perception of their own safety. The implications of the bystanders' reactions were highlighted.

Keywords: Kitty GenoveseGenderBystanderInterventionViolencePersonal safety

Women care more about a greater number of characteristics when considering sexual attractiveness in a potential mate, with highly educated women more keen on looks

Whyte S, Brooks RC, Chan HF, Torgler B (2021) Sex differences in sexual attraction for aesthetics, resources and personality across age. PLoS ONE 16(5): e0250151, May 19 2021.

Abstract: Because sexual attraction is a key driver of human mate choice and reproduction, we descriptively assess relative sex differences in the level of attraction individuals expect in the aesthetic, resource, and personality characteristics of potential mates. As a novelty we explore how male and female sexual attractiveness preference changes across age, using a dataset comprising online survey data for over 7,000 respondents across a broad age distribution of individuals between 18 and 65 years. In general, we find that both males and females show similar distribution patterns in their preference responses, with statistically significant sex differences within most of the traits. On average, females rate age, education, intelligence, income, trust, and emotional connection around 9 to 14 points higher than males on our 0–100 scale range. Our relative importance analysis shows greater male priority for attractiveness and physical build, compared to females, relative to all other traits. Using multiple regression analysis, we find a consistent statistical sex difference (males relative to females) that decreases linearly with age for aesthetics, while the opposite is true for resources and personality, with females exhibiting a stronger relative preference, particularly in the younger aged cohort. Exploring non-linearity in sex difference with contour plots for intelligence and attractiveness across age (mediated by age) indicates that sex differences in attractiveness preferences are driven by the male cohort (particularly age 30 to 40) for those who care about the importance of age, while intelligence is driven by females caring relatively more about intelligence for those who see age as very important (age cohort 40 to 55). Overall, many of our results indicate distinct variations within sex at key life stages, which is consistent with theories of selection pressure. Moreover, results also align with theories of parental investment, the gender similarities hypothesis, and mutual mate choice–which speaks to the fact that the broader discipline of evolutionary mate choice research in humans still contains considerable scope for further inquiry towards a unified theory, particularly when exploring sex-difference across age.


Mating market preferences and decisions regarding attractiveness are arguably based on three core areas: appearances (aesthetics), personal characteristics and qualities (personality), and the ability to provide (resource) access and security to potential suitors. As our study shows, individual differences between preferences for each of these characteristics differ between women and men, as well as with age. Despite significant sex differences, however, men and women gave broadly similar priority to the measured preferences, consistent with a model of mutual mate choice [6] or the broader gender similarities hypothesis [5].

At its simplest, our study’s descriptive findings demonstrate that for all nine characteristics of interests, both males and females show similar distribution patterns in their preference responses. That said, there are statistically significant sex differences within traits for eight out of the nine traits explored; on average, females rated age, education, intelligence, income, trust, and emotional connection around 9 to 14 points higher than males on our 0–100 scale range. On the surface, one may make the observation that for the population sampled, and compared with males, females care more about a greater number of characteristics when considering attractiveness in a potential mate. Such findings lend confirmatory weight to previous research findings and broader historical evolutionary theory that predicts that females tend to be choosier than men [1112]

By standardizing the responses to the nine traits within subject, our relative importance analysis forced an effective ranking of the nine measured preferences. Interestingly, our findings indicate greater male priority for attractiveness and physical build, compared to females, relative to all other traits. For example, males rated attractiveness .29 SD and physical build .33 SD higher than the mean ratings (to all nine traits) given; whereas females rate attractiveness and physical build .11 SD and .05 SD higher than their average rating, respectively. Conversely, compared to males, females place relatively more importance on the two resource factors, namely education and intelligence. Such results are in line with previous research findings supporting sex differences according to the predictions from parental investment theory [112]. Forced ranking of preferences exposes small but detectable differences in relative emphasis on preferences that are consistent with male resource-holding and female fecundity-nubility being important considerations in mate choice [4850].

Our study also explored variation in perceived importance for sexual attraction of the nine characteristics, as well as their respective sex differences at different life stages. Our most novel findings again center on attractiveness and physical build (relative to other traits), with males exhibiting stronger preferences (than females) for both, across all ages. Interestingly, for both sexes, preference for attractiveness appears negatively correlated with age, but preference for openness and trust is positively associated with age. In many mating preference studies, the focus is on young adults, which means that we know relatively little about older cohorts’ preferences. The consonant changes shown by women and men with age suggest one possible source of age-dependent assortative mating, consistent with predictions that mutual mate choice may be worth consideration in addition to sex-dependent preferences [6]. Age-assortative preferences warrant further research.

The study also explored non-linearity in sex-difference preferences for intelligence and attractiveness across age, mediated by the importance of age: when exploring intelligence, we checked attractiveness as a mediator. Sex differences across age are the smallest for those who reported the lowest preferences for aesthetics (age and attractiveness); however, for those who care more about aesthetics, there is a larger sex difference and such differences depend on participants’ age. The sex differences in the preference for attractiveness were driven by the male cohort who cared more about age aesthetics, and were largest for the age group 30 to 40. Sex differences in the importance of intelligence were also positively affected by the importance of attractiveness and age, but sex differences for those with high aesthetic preferences were driven by females caring relatively more about intelligence, particularly for females age 40 to 55. Such findings indicating distinct variation within sex at key life stages may again speak to theories of sexual selection pressures resulting in biologically specific adaptions [1112].

Our multiple regression analysis explores factors impacting preferences for all nine characteristics individually, as well as their three groupings. Here, we find a consistent statistical sex difference (males relative to females) that decreases linearly with age for aesthetics. The opposite is true for resources and personality, with females exhibiting a stronger relative preference, particularly in the younger cohort of our sample.

Finally, our principal component regression results demonstrate interesting associations between individual differences in personality traits and our measures of preference, indicating a clear relative sex differences for single males’ preferences for resources compared to females. More highly educated females express a higher relative preference for aesthetics, and more attractive females exhibit a higher relative preference for personality. We also find absolute differences for females with offspring, who place more emphasis on personality, whereas males with offspring report this trait as less important.

Overall, our study provides descriptive findings concerning sex and individual differences in self-reported mating preferences, most of which are consistent with predictions made by existing theories about attraction to aestheticresource, and personality traits. That so many of our findings align with theories of both parental investment and mutual mate choice speaks to the fact that the broader discipline of evolutionary mate choice research in humans still contains considerable scope for further inquiry before reaching any unified theory. The fact that such rapid advances in modern technology (such as the internet, and big data more broadly) now allows behavioral science a gamut of new avenues for analysis suggests a growing opportunity for more rigorous analysis and continued scientific debate on the topic of human mating behavior [43].

The authors acknowledge several limitations to the current study. Firstly, our sample population is the result of self-selection; naturally, any online open access national survey generates an unavoidable selection bias. While our sample population is extremely large compared to previous mate choice studies (n = 7325), it is important to acknowledge limitations due to representativeness of the Australian general population. The second problem lies with the subjectivity of the participants’ ratings and self-ratings; for example, the term “sexual attractiveness” may not be homogenous in meaning or interpretation for all participants in our sample, a methodological issue that is, however, present across all fields of behavioral science research. Likewise, surveying such a large number of individuals may induce “noise” around individual decisions and responses compared to the results from a more controlled laboratory experiment setting. Nevertheless, not only were the survey questions standardized for all participants in terms of both the dependent variables and their relation to the respondent’s own sexual attraction, but the study delineated nine different characteristics for which the participants made their own independent assessments. Further, the large sample (n = 7325) and age distribution (18–65 years) of real-world online dating participants provides a unique robustness check for comparative mate choice research that has traditionally sampled more homogenous undergraduate student samples. Admittedly, however, in 21st century cyber mating markets (just as all historical mate choice settings) stated preferences are not always definitive indicators of actual behavior [51]. Future revealed preference research would do well to collect longitudinal data that explored individuals’ stated preference and actual mate choice decisions across time. Further, it is important to note that linear high/low scales may not necessarily be the most efficient way to capture data on preference, mainly due to participant indifference. Positive-negative scales do not necessarily allow an individual to respond with indifference, and rather only permit choice of a middle 50-point marker on a 0–100 scale. Such methodological constraints are an important and ongoing consideration for future work in this space. Finally, while the current study analyses and reports the sexual attraction preference for an extremely large population of Australian online dating participants (n = 7325), the authors caution over-emphasis of statistically significant results stemming from such a large sample size. Any and all descriptive analysis in the current study were reported so as to provide scientific transparency, and in accordance with the current standards across the evolutionary behavioral sciences.

At different life stages both sexes prioritize (or favor) different (or similar) characteristics in a mate. For example, given that peak female fertility is essentially restricted to the (late) second and third decades of life, it seems logical that preferences will differ between males and females across these years. But this is not to say that these differences are absolute, with parental investment being a good example; not least because modern developed societies exhibit probably the most homogenous gender roles in human history. Traits and proxies for parental care and investment are thus highly valued in both sexes–although, as our research repeatedly shows–they can differ relatively at different life stages. As such, future mate choice research would do well to take into account both relative and absolute perspectives when conducting sex difference research. Given the importance of sexual attraction in reproductive decision making, ongoing research is warranted into this large-scale decision process. That the broader field of evolutionary mate choice is yet to reach a unified theory of sex differentiated stated preference across the life span speaks to the need for greater descriptive analysis of large-scale real-world mating market participants such as those included in the current study.

Improvements in religious liberty tend to precede economic freedom; increases in religious liberty have a wide array of spillovers that are important determinants of economic freedom & explain the direction of causality

Makridis, Christos, Religious, Civil, and Economic Freedoms: What's the Chicken and What's the Egg? (April 24, 2021). SSRN:

Abstract: This paper studies the relationship between religious liberty and economic freedom. First, three new facts emerge: (a) religious liberty has increased since 1960, but has slipped substantially over the past decade; (b) the countries that experienced the largest declines in religious liberty tend to have greater economic freedom, especially property rights; (c) changes in religious liberty are associated with changes in the allocation of time to religious activities. Second, using a combination of vector autoregressions and dynamic panel methods, improvements in religious liberty tend to precede economic freedom. Finally, increases in religious liberty have a wide array of spillovers that are important determinants of economic freedom and explain the direction of causality. Countries cannot have long-run economic prosperity and freedom without actively allowing for and promoting religious liberty.

Keywords: Economic Development, Economic Freedom, Human Flourishing, Religious Liberty

JEL Classification: E61, H41, O43, O47

7 Conclusion

While there is a large literature on the importance of of institutions for economic growth and

development, there has been almost no discussion of the role of religious liberty. Using a sample of

over 150 countries between 2006 and 2018, recent results from Makridis (2021) show that religious

liberty is predictive of human flourishing even after controlling for cross-country in demographics,

macroeconomic performance, economic freedom, and other time-invariant heterogeneity.

Since it is now clear that religious liberty matters, how does it relate with economic freedom?

Theoretically, religious liberty could be a prerequisite for at least two reasons. First, the freedom

to choose what to believe is a prerequisite for assigning meaning to our actions. Second, religious

liberty provides a foundation for other freedoms to emerge, such as property and contracting

rights. Using similar data as Makridis (2021), this paper investigates whether increases in economic

freedom precede religious liberty, or whether it is the other way around. The results suggest that

religious liberty is not only a much stronger predictor of economic freedom than the other way

around, but also that lagged increases in economic freedom do not show up as increases in religious

freedom, but they do the other way around. Furthermore, this paper provides new evidence on

the spillover benefits of religious liberty on other behavior in society and the public sector.

Admittedly, a number of questions for future research remain. What are specific examples of

policies that affect religious liberty? How do these policies affect individual human capital and

investment decisions? How does religious liberty influence governance at more local levels? These

are all questions that should be addressed in future work, but require more granular data.

Consequences of slowly gaining olfactory function after lifelong lack of it: Most of odors are unpleasant and intense

Consequences of gaining olfactory function after lifelong anosmia. Robert PellegrinoORCID Icon,Coralie Mignot,Charalampos Georgiopoulos,Antje Haehner &Thomas Hummel. The Neural Basis of Cognition, May 18 2021.

Abstract: We present a rare case in which a patient has gained her smell after lifelong anosmia. The patient was objectively tested and diagnosed with functional anosmia at age 13 and reported they were experiencing a new sensation of smell at age 22. Our results show an electrophysiological signal for two unimodal odorants. The patient had a retronasal score in the hyposmic range and self-reported the ability to smell non-trigeminal odors, but reported being disturbed by the presence of the new sense and co-occurrence of phantosmia. We discuss our case in routes of neurogenesis and non-forming memory association with odors.

KEYWORDS: Ansomiaolfactory recoveryneurogenesiscongenitalnew sensememoryphantosmia


Some people with cochlear implants also find intolerable some sounds.