Last Week(s) in Reading

Sex Differences in Obesity Rates in Poor Countries: Evidence from South Africa“–Anne Case and Alicia Menendez last week. The paper was rather unremarkable with the exception of this:

“For women, childhood deprivation is positively and significantly associated with obesity. Women who reported going to bed hungry and to school hungry and who ate at other’s houses because there wasn’t enough food, are 15 percentage points more likely to be obese than are women who report none of these. Moving a woman from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile of the distribution of income person is associated with an increase in obesity among women of 10 percentage points.”

Only in women. Do people subconsciously compensate for what they’ve missed out on? Why wouldn’t men do the same thing? I’d love to see an answer to this. I guess it could be a good thing though: Fat women more jolly

Love, Hate and Murder: Commitment Devices in Violent RelationshipsAnna Aizer, Pedro Dal Bó Interesting application of Game Theory to abusive relationships. Basically, the authors advocate a no-drop rule which would dictate that once domestic violence was reported the prosecutor would continue with the case regardless of the woman recanting her confession (this term is helpful.) This gets inside the interaction and increasing the incentive to report and decreases the necessity of murdering your partner. Of course, this provides the paradox we see with the 3 Strikes Laws–it might increase the severity of the abuse since once the action is undertaken, the criminal has little to lose.

Which is my main problem with reading academic papers. They are so sterile and seem to lack any motivation to guess at the implications. Data without context is pretty meaningless. As always, head to Overcoming Bias and Marginal Revolution for that (the latter of which was the source for these particular papers)

Purple CowSeth Godin Better than The Dip but primarily about marketing. Assertion: That being normal and average is a gamble that rarely pays off.

On the OratorCicero Read this post and read the book.

Rereads: 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene and The Histories by Herodotus. I wanted to read up on the Battle of Marathon. I am currently enthralled with it. I talk about the rabbit hole sometimes and this is a pretty good example. I was flipping through 33SOW and I read Robert’s retelling of the epic battle as part of the “divide and rule” strategy. It might actually be one of his best written pieces–the men “caked in dust and blood” and so on. Then I looked in the index of Histories and read his version of it but still wanted more. I talked to Robert today and found out his source on the subject and now “The Greco Persian Wars” is in the mail and arriving Thursday.

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