Pandemics, Compliance, and Leadership
Dear ECON 203 Students:
Now that you’ve learned how the concept of comparative advantage has contributed to political polarization in the U.S., perhaps as we continue to live in Europe with corona-virus lockdowns and lockdowns “light” it’s appropriate to explore more pandemic-related empirical results. While sometimes we tire of thinking about these issues, remember, as we discussed in our Week 1 class, the pandemic is a classic natural experiment that allows economists to sort out messy correlation vs. causality questions related to social behavior.
So take a look at the two pieces below that are readable summaries of research that examines gender differences in pandemic-related compliance and leadership experiences.
In the second piece, the authors discuss how financial and personal-safety risk preferences differ between women and men. Whats is their argument? Do you agree? Why or why not? Assuming the studies referenced in both of these pieces turn out to be definitive, are they meaningful? If so, how? If not, why not.
Best wishes for an engaging “empirically based” behavioral-economics discussion.
Post by Andrew Shepherd
The argument that female leaders are better at fighting the pandemic based on their more democratic and collaborative style of leadership falls flat on its face. The articles fail to present any real quantifiably measured data, and fail to present any unbiased data (Garikipati, 2020). The argument by Galasso et al. (2020) that compliance by gender is first, quantifiable, and second, demonstrates more pragmatic approach of females is dangerously divisive and poorly supported. Both articles are prime examples of how easy it is to cherry pick single datum (or multiple data) and support a narrative to drive a social or political agenda.
Look how easy it is!
As of 11:12 on 12 November 2020, worldometer (n.d.a.) reports 1,290,976 worldwide deaths from COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (2020) reports that “… at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese”. Based on those numbers, 1,509,024 more people a year die from obesity than COVID. Where are the obesity lock downs? Where are the calls for “compliance”?
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (n.d.) says that:
More than 1 in 3 (38.7 percent) of men, and about 1 in 4 (26.5 percent) of women were considered to be overweight. Obesity was higher in women (about 40 percent) than men (35 percent). Extreme obesity was higher in women (9.9 percent) than men (5.5 percent). Almost 3 in 4 men (73.7 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity; and about 2 in 3 women (66.9) were considered to be overweight or have obesity.”
This dispels the argument that women are more compliant with medical standards.
NPR (Aubrey, A. 2015) states that:
The prevalence of obesity among women in their 40s and 50s has risen to 42 percent since 1999-2000. That is higher than the 38 percent the CDC found for middle-aged men. Across all adult age groups, about 38 percent of women are obese, while 34 percent of men were obese.
Where are the calls for explorations of how “[…] to identify and convince those who are the least compliant” (Galasso et al., 2020)?
The American CDC (n.d.) states that:
“Non-Hispanic blacks (49.6%) had the highest age-adjusted prevalence of obesity, followed by Hispanics (44.8%), non-Hispanic whites (42.2%) and non-Hispanic Asians (17.4%).”
How about requests to explore ways “[…] to identify and convince those who are the least compliant” based on these numbers (Galasso et al., 2020)? That would be abhorrent.
Muenning et al. (2006) said that:
Overweight men in the United States had 47000 additional years of life lost annually whereas overweight women had 1 million additional years of life lost annually relative to normal-weight persons. Obese men had 1.21 million years of life lost to disease annually whereas obese women had an additional 1.89 million years of life lost to disease annually relative to normal-weight persons.”
If data is analyzed from the sources presented, we could surmise that women, and groups defined by racial background, fail to follow with health standards, and to use the language of Galasso et at (2020), “[…] convince those who are the least compliant”.
Garikipati (2020) notes the female leaders of New Zealand and Germany and their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Garikipati’s article has not aged well in the case of Germany. Germany is under it is second lock down and the number of cases is exploding. The deaths are not. Can Angela Merkle attribute the medical successes of Germany’s COVID fight to her “femineity”? That is ridiculous. Her singular leadership has nothing to do with the medical system that Germany has had for years. New Zealand, ah, New Zealand. The country shut its boarders. It is an island far from any other major body of land and has strict border controls on a normal day. They did have COVID-19 cases in New Zealand. The only way gender of the leader of a country could be accounted for as a quantifiable reason for success in the pandemic is if the country was a total dictatorship. The world only has a few of those. Let us look at North Korea. Khaliq (2020) notes “Not even a single COVID-19 case in North Korea so far’. If success of a leader’s Gender matters, the male, total dictator, Kim Jong should be the worlds shining example of “how to do it right”. Back to Garikipati (2020), his data has not aged well, Germany is not able to cope with the current rates of COVID-19 and is exploring further lock downs. Is that the fault of Angela Merkle’s femineity? It is gross when the pendulum swings the other way in the argument, and it should be seen as gross from both sides. As for the comparison to the leadership in of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, well AFP, Brasilia (2020) highlights how much of nasty piece of work he is. This has nothing to do with his being male, and everything to do with him being a nut bag. I will not even quote the title of the article or repeat his statement. The link is below and contains jargon that borders on hate speech. He is a clown. I would imagine, if you asked the female leaders of these nation if their gender stereotypes guide their leadership strategies, they would be appalled. If a female perspective is a strategy for success, is it fair to blame a female perspective when it fails?
Both articles are rotten to the core. This is dangerous language. This is a nasty way to atomize society and drive wedges into national and social fabrics that hold people together. I agree that we need to face COVID-19 but pushing people into groups and then pointing fingers at the other group that is not complying solves nothing and stands the chance to rip society apart. Rejection of segregation of thought, society, race, gender, and class should be made at every level. This is a problem for us all (except North Korea) and we need to work together to solve it. I have intentionally made provocative statements; I have cited works that cherry pick support for my points. I want to make it clear that this has been done to demonstrate the nastiness of biased calls for demonization, persecution, or reeducation and show how easy it is!
To use economic data for analyzing COVID-19 and the response. Exploration should be made carefully to understand positive, “what is” and normative, “what should be”. To responsibly use data to support “what should be” you must cast a very wide net and take many variables into account. Failure to do so is dangerous. The results will be as bad and generate more problems.
AFP, Brasilia (2020) Jair Bolsonaro asks Brazilians not to deal with COVID-19 “like […]”. Deccan Herald. November 11, 2020. https://www.deccanherald.com/international/world-news-politics/jair-bolsonaro-asks-brazilians-not-to-deal-with-covid-19-like-fags-914199.html
Aubrey, A. (2015) More women than men are obese in America, and the gap is widening. NPR November 13, 2015. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/11/13/455883665/cdc-more-women-than-men-are-obese-in-america-and-gap-is-widening#:~:text=The%20prevalence%20of%20obesity%20among,percent%20of%20men%20were%20obese.
CDC (n.d.) Adult Obesity Facts. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved on November 12, 20202 from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
Khaliq, R. (2020) Not even a single COVID-19 case in N. Korea so far. Anadolu Agency Retrieved on November 12, 2020 from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/not-even-a-single-covid-19-case-in-nkorea-so-far/1991052
Muennig, P., Lubetkin, E., Jia, H., Franks, P. (2006) Gender and the burden of disease attributable to obesity. American Journal of Public health. September 2006. 96(9). 1662-1668. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1551950
WHO (2020) Obesity. World Health Organization. Retrieved on November 12, 20202 from https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/6-facts-on-obesity
Worldometers (n.d.a) Coronavirus. Worldometers. Retrieved on November 12, 20202 from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
Post by Cesar Rocha
The article argues that female led countries have been more successful when dealing with Covid since the pandemic started. I do not agree with what the articles says since no one really knows much about covid, I personally lockdowns are stupid and the price small businesses take and how much it affects the economy is not worth it. Theres so many factors that affect these results such as the level of testing available per country or for example we cant compare Germany with a country like US, since the United States is a way bigger country where restrictions are based by state. That being said the argument of the article of why women are better leaders I believe it is not meaningful since this does not really prove anything, not only on government leaders but any leaders included, Ive seen both horrible and amazing leaders for both genders.