Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Evidence? Pah, We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Evidence!

Why should I pay for yours?

What a delightful encapsulation of all that is wrong with the modern world:

Across the public and private sectors and in every branch of society (increasingly even at the beleaguered Garrick Club), it is accepted that the contributions of both women and men are vital, not just to deliver fairness, but to allow for as wide a range of views as possible in the interests of good decision-making. It makes no sense to allow schools to prevent the cultivation of that approach. Research that suggests single-sex schools “outperform” is not just an irrelevance but meaningless. Research showing that single-sex workforces outperformed mixed groups would be immediately rejected. We would insist that the wrong questions were being asked.

Reality is that thing outside the window to be ignored when it conflicts with our prejudices.

The truly interesting thing being that of course such research has been done. Think of Harriet Harman’s comment about Lehman Sisters.

In which she was, for once in her life, correct. An all female workforce in a bank would be less risk taking than an all male workforce. Because this is how humans work, women – on average and all that – tend to be more risk averse than men. This is just a truth about the species we belong to.

The truly important thing here being that we can compare either of those single sex environments to a mixed one. And the reality – reality note, the thing we must, even if we desire not to, interact with – is that mixed sex environments are more risk taking than either of the possible single sex ones.

Something which does bring its amusements of course. The financial crash can therefore be blamed on allowing women into the dealing rooms. Even if it’s less than politics to even muse that this might be so.

Leave such provocations aside though. We have evidence that mixed and same sex environments perform differently with respect to risk. We should reject this because the wrong questions were asked, or incorporate it into our view of the world?

The claim being made is that we must reject – which tells us what’s wrong with the world today. It’s not willing to work with the grain of reality which is why there are so many splinters getting stuck in the societal arse.

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Esteban
Esteban
4 months ago

Seems that an all male environment would be more risk taking than a mixed one?

Mark Green
Mark Green
4 months ago
Reply to  Tim Worstall

This study seems to think that women become more risk-taking when they are in a mixed-gender work environment but that men are not affected. Is there a more recent study?

Regardless, the effect does seem to be counter-intuitive.

https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/2018/preliminary/paper/B7a9sERs

Barks
Barks
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Green

The studies never explore the deleterious effects of mixed-sex work environments on the male outliers who have been (and are) the leading inventors, innovators, investors, etc., moving the human race forward. Probably because the “wrong” answer might be stumbled upon.

Jim
Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark Green

I’m not sure it is counter-intuitive. In a solely male task based environment there will be one hierarchy – based on the competency at the task in hand. A cricket team for example will soon develop a hierarchy as to who are the superstar players, who are the journeymen and who are just making up the numbers. Once you introduce women into doing the same task, there are two hierarchies at work – the task in hand, and who gets the most female attention. Thus those who know they have no chance of winning in the task hierarchy may consider… Read more »

Spike
Spike
4 months ago

The preconceived notion that women are “just like us but with tits” (unless they are birth-assigned males) is like the notion that minorities are “just like us but darker” (except Rachel Dolezal). In fact, any group difference that is significant gains its significance through different culture and history that might lead to different average results.

Contributions of SOME women are vital. The assertion that women-as-a-class have to be treated identically, or we lose the contributions of all women, is crap.

John B
John B
4 months ago

And sex segregation at schools was routine during the first 200 years after the start of the Industrial Revolution – the greatest surge in social and economic progress in the history of Mankind.

And wasn’t there much agitation to get women out of workforces of dangerous and arduous occupations, like coal mining?

I don’t see a mixed workforce working on the bin lorries or oil drilling rigs.

Balam
Balam
4 months ago

I’m totally unconvinced that a female leadership would be less likely to send other people’s children to war.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
4 months ago
Reply to  Balam

They’re not scared of the sight of blood.

john77
john77
4 months ago
Reply to  Balam

Margaret Thatcher was, at the time, the least belligerent of female leaders (after Golda Meir, Mrs Bandanaraike and both competing leaders of Bangladesh) to rule/have ruled a country. Going back in history one wouldn’t want to be a conscript in the armies of Boudicca or Maud (maybe of Good Queen Bess as she won); Queens Anne and Victoria fought many more wars than their predecessors and successors combined. One of the reasons why Winston Churchill said “Jaw, jaw is better than war, war” is that he had seen comrades hacked to death – a privilege not vouchsafed to female political… Read more »

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