The Sadness of Stay-at-Home Moms

Gallup:

Stay-at-home moms fare worse than employed moms at every income level in terms of sadness, anger, and depression. On the other items Gallup measures — laughter, enjoyment, happiness, worry, stress, learning something interesting, and having a high life evaluation rating — middle- and high-income stay-at-home moms for the most part do as well as employed moms.

However, low-income stay-at-home moms do worse on all of these items than their employed counterparts. These moms — with annual household incomes of less than $36,000 — are less likely than employed moms at this income level to say they smiled or laughed a lot or experienced happiness or enjoyment “yesterday.” They are also slightly less likely to say they learned something interesting.

via Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Depression, Sadness, Anger.

Narrative vs. Truth

So the next time you hear a good story about why the financial recession, or any other economically significant event, was caused by a single collection of bad actors — or how a simple linear narrative “explains” an important event — remember this: Just as we are wired to like a diet rich in fats and sugars, we have an appetite for simple, coherent narratives. Neither habit is good for our long-term health.

via Our Gift for Good Stories Blinds Us to the Truth – Bloomberg

Cowen on the Austerity Facts Foofaraw

I don’t wish to respond point-by-point to some of the writings in the blogosphere, but given the above, Ryan Avent also is not looking deeply enough.  Both he and Brad Plumer did not see that the posts in question clearly distinguished between spending cuts and “austerity” (Brad did issue what is arguably a correction.)  I admire both bloggers and read them regularly, but these two posts both fail; here are some comments from Veronique.  I would say there is a dominant narrative, repeated many times in not always precise language, which people find it very hard to think outside of.

Most of the time “austerity” is a misleading word and more precise concepts — readily intelligible I might add — are available.  There really are some times when we should relabel austerity as “mostly tax increases,” but many people are reluctant to do so.

via Economic growth is not contractionary, and other confusions about stimulus and spending — Marginal Revolution.

Hayek on Social Justice and Minimum Income

Kevin Vallier tries to sort it out:

On Hayek’s view, the UBI is required as a condition of democratic legitimacy within the framework of a social contract. I’m not saying Hayek is a social contract theorist, but he sounds like one in this passage. In order for a democratic government to be legitimate it must treat people as equals by imposing only abstract rules on them. Government gives no one special privilege, and this requirement is compatible with providing them with means to secure basic goods and services.

via Hayek: against social justice, for a minimum income | Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

Democracy Works, So Government Sucks

Jason Brennan hands you the check:

The quality of the candidates who make it on the ballot depends upon the quality of the electorate. The politicians who make it on the ballot are low quality because they appeal to the median voter. If the median voter has silly views, then smart, well-informed, intellectually honest, forthright politicians don’t stand a chance.

Many people complain that we’re always stuck choosing the lesser of two evils. The Comedy Central show South Park compared the 2004 presidential election to a school mascot election between a Turd Sandwich and a Douche. Why are we often stuck choosing between a Republican Turd Sandwich and Democratic Douche? It’s not because the system is broken or corrupt. It’s because the system works. …

If we want to fix our democracy, then we need to fix ourselves. We need to become smarter, less biased, and more intellectually honest when it comes to politics. We need the median voter to be a virtuous voter.

via Princeton University Press Blog » Blog Archive » Bad Government is Our Fault.

Emulating Fictional Characters

Researchers at Ohio State University examined what happened to people who, while reading a fictional story, found themselves feeling the emotions, thoughts, beliefs and internal responses of one of the characters as if they were their own – a phenomenon the researchers call “experience-taking.”

They found that, in the right situations, experience-taking may lead to real changes, if only temporary, in the lives of readers.

In one experiment, for example, the researchers found that people who strongly identified with a fictional character who overcame obstacles to vote were significantly more likely to vote in a real election several days later.

via 'Losing Yourself' In A Fictional Character Can Affect Your Real Life.

If You Love Truth So Much, Why Not Give Up Stories?

Robin Hanson wants to know:

A few days ago I asked why not become religious, if it will give you a better life, even if the evidence for religious beliefs is weak? Commenters eagerly declared their love of truth. Today I’ll ask: if you give up the benefits of religion, because you love far truth, why not also give up stories, to gain even more far truth? Alas, I expect that few who claim to give up religion because they love truth will also give up stories for the same reason. Why?

One obvious explanation: many of you live in subcultures where being religious is low status, but loving stories is high status. Maybe you care a lot less about far truth than you do about status.

via Overcoming Bias : Stories Are Like Religion.

Psychological Egoism Refuted, Again

A New Jersey roofer jumped into a vat of nitric acid solution to save a co-worker who had fallen 40 feet into the tank, fire officials said.

Rob Nuckols, 51, was working on the ground floor Monday morning at Swepco Tube LLC when his colleague Martin Davis plunged through a roof and into the vat of diluted acid and became fully submerged, officials said.

He jumped into the vat and was waist-high while he and three others pulled Davis out, Clifton Fire Chief Vince Colavitti told The Record of Woodland Park. The vat contained a 40 to 70 percent nitric acid solution used for cleaning metal tubing.

via Worker jumps into vat of acid to save colleague  | ajc.com.