Framing the Steubenville rape verdict

Harlow explained that it had been “incredibly difficult” to watch “as these two young men — who had such promising futures, star football players, very good students — literally watched as they believed their life fell apart.”

Those poor, passive boys, whose lives have been torn apart. You know, by *committing rape*. The commentator went on to lament that they would be placed on a sex offender register. There are lots of cases in which one can criticise the placement of people on a sex offender register. But raping someone unconscious and incapable of consent is not among them. More here.

Does affirmative action help the disadvantaged students it is supposed to benefit?

The Supremes are going to take up an affirmative action (AA) suit. One argument against AA may seem to be the result of benevolent concern for under-represented groups. It employs mismatch theory.

“Mismatch theory” says that AA clearly gets some students into better schools than they are otherwise qualified for. But such students are then at a disadvantage, since those who get in on merit will out perform them and leave them at a loss in class after class.

As Dan Slater in the NY Times says:

[Mismatch] is the idea that affirmative action can harm those it’s supposed to help by placing them at schools in which they fall below the median level of ability and therefore have a tough time. As a consequence, the argument goes, these students suffer learningwise and, later, careerwise.

And Slater seems to think a 1991 study of the law bar is significant, though very imperfect:

In 1991, more than 27,000 incoming law students — about 2,000 of them black — completed questionnaires for the B.P.S. (Bar Passing Study)and gave permission to track their performance in law school and later on the bar.

Among other things, the questionnaire asked students (a) whether they got into their first-choice law school, (b) if so, whether they enrolled at their first choice, and (c) if not, why not.

Data showed that 689 of the approximately 2,000 black applicants got into their first-choice law school. About three-quarters of those 689 matriculated at their first choice. The remaining quarter opted instead for their second-choice school, often for financial or geographic reasons. So, of the 689 black applicants who got into their first choice, 512 went, and the rest, 177, attended their second choice, presumably a less prestigious institution.

Those who went to their second choice schools did significantly better.

Duke researchers have weighed in and they argue that it is STEM fields that mismatch causes problems. Stem courses build on expertise acquired in earlier classes, and problems can multiply in very serious ways.

As far as I know, this is pretty much the whole mismatch argument, made famous in fact by Clarence Thomas. I’m really interested in hearing what you think of it. I’m going to restrict myself to pointing out that the mismatch argument proponents don’t seem very concerned about all the others who get into universities on something other than academic merit. For starters, legacy students and athletes are among them. Perhaps also famous actors, members of royal families, the children of presidents, and so on. And since the worry is that students who benefit from AA will be below the median, shouldn’t we worry about all the other students there too?

2012 Gender Inequality Index

Click here for links on/for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index

The U.N. (Development Program) released the 2013 Human Development Report (and the 2012 Human Development Index within it) a few days ago. It incorporates data from 2012 for the latest Gender Inequality Index (on pages 156-159). This index reflects gender inequality along three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market – as rated by five indicators: maternal mortality and adolescent fertility for reproductive health, parliamentary representation and educational attainment for empowerment, and labor force participation for the labor market.

Of the 186 countries ranked in the 2012 Human Development Index, 148 of those countries are ranked in the 2012 Gender Inequality Index. The U.S. ranks #42, the U.K. ranks #34, Canada ranks #18, Australia ranks #17, New Zealand ranks #31, and South Africa ranks #90.[The UN Development Programme has several times now updated/changed some of their data/info. Please share relevant updates/changes in the comments.]

Also out of those 186 countries (for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index…), Netherlands ranks #1, Sweden ranks #2, Denmark and Switzerland rank #3, Norway ranks #5 (though as you might expect, Norway ranks #1 overall in Human Development), Finland and Germany rank #6, Slovenia ranks #8, France ranks #9, Iceland ranks #10, Italy ranks #11 and Belgium ranks #12.

In addition, out of those 186 countries (for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index…), India ranks #132, Saudi Arabia ranks #145, Afghanistan ranks #147, and Yemen ranks #148.

More UNDP links are down/changed again. Click here for links on/for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index

Click here for a PDF of the full 2013 Human Development Report. The 2012 Gender Inequality Index is on pp. 156-159.

Click here for a more detailed account of the Gender Inequality Index that includes indicator data from 2012 as well as previous (grouped) years. This is a new webpage containing more index statistics than previous webpages and PDF files. [Update, the UNDP deleted this webpage again, but did replace it with one that contains relevant data.]

Click here and scroll down to “technical note 3” on pages 5-6 for a PDF file that provides details on how the Gender Inequality Index is calculated.

Unfortunately, the webpage with frequently asked questions (and answers) about the Gender Inequality Index seems no longer to exist among the United Nations Human Development Programme webpages. If anyone finds or has a link to it, please share it in the comments!

What do readers think? All sorts of data here for all sorts of comments…