Thursday, December 01, 2005

Researching Reality

There has been news on two research ideas of late.

The first one is an economist's delight. Pay a student to increase his grades and you should find an increase in them. Read more about it here. Now, why didn't my dad think of it? It is one experiment that I am looking forward to for the results. Probably I should open a betting site for it! More importantly, will it work in India if students are not given the money directly but is deposited to the parents' account. Part of it will be redeemabale for present expenses and the rest will go into a Higher Education Savings Account.

The other is the radical finding of Steven Levitt. "Unwanted children, the story goes, are more likely to become criminals in later life. Abortion, legalised throughout the United States by the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade ruling in 1973, prevents unwanted pregnancies from becoming unwanted children. Higher abortion rates from the 1970s onwards thus help to explain why crime rates fell in America about two decades later." I must admit the finding is quite appealing. However the study apparently has an error because the authors thought that they had run a test, but the computer did not run the test due to a programming error. So Steven Levitt's funda that “abortion was one of the greatest crime-lowering factors in American history” will still be up for research for a lot more time. Read about it here.

If I go by Steven Levitt's funda, that would imply the following logic in India.
Since abortion is costly, one may simply dump or let the child die. So more infant deaths among unmarried or well, more criminals in orphanages.
Boys are anyway desirable in India, and usually not aborted. So there are more chances of guy-criminals out there! No wonder the average girl is so wary of the average Indian guy:-)

I don't believe either but would love to research it.

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