June 21, 2009

Jason Malloy's latest collection

Jason Malloy of GNXP has collected a bunch of interesting abstracts from the National Bureau of Economic Research, including Ted Joyce's latest on the Steven Levitt abortion-cuts-crime theory:
1. No link Abortion and Crime US and UK
2. Genetically closer nations more likely to go to war
3. Taller people are happier
4. B-W gap narrowed b/c Southern hospital desegregation
5. Fat white women and fat black men dislike themselves
6. Educated women are having more babies
7. Latin Americans are poor b/c they have low IQ
8. People just as likely to help different races
1. Abortion and Crime: A Review
Theodore J. Joyce

Abstract -----

Ten years have passed since John Donohue and Steven Levitt initially proposed that legalized abortion played a major role in the dramatic decline in crime during the 1990s. Criminologists largely dismiss the association because simple plots of age-specific crime rates are inconsistent with a large cohort affect following the legalization of abortion. Economists, on the other hand, have corrected mistakes in the original analyses, added new data, offered alternative tests and tried to replicate the association in other countries. Donohue and Levitt have responded to each challenge with more data and additional regressions. Making sense of the dueling econometrics has proven difficult for even the most seasoned empiricists. In this paper I review the evidence. I argue that the most straightforward test given available data involves age-specific arrest and homicide rates regressed on lagged abortion rates in the 1970s or indicators of abortion legalization in 1970 and 1973. Such models provide little support for the Donohue and Levitt hypothesis in either the US or the United Kingdom.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15098

So, after a decade, we're back to where we were in August 1999 right after the debate in Slate between Steven Freakonomics Levitt and me: there's just not much convincing evidence for Levitt's abortion-cut-crime theory. On the other hand, Levitt's net worth is a lot higher than in August 1999, so, from a bottom line point-of-view, why should he care about whether he was right or not?
2. War and Relatedness
Enrico Spolaore, Romain Wacziarg

Abstract -----

We develop a theory of interstate conflict in which the degree of genealogical relatedness between populations has a positive effect on their conflict propensities because more closely related populations, on average, tend to interact more and develop more disputes over sets of common issues. We examine the empirical relationship between the occurrence of interstate conflicts and the degree of relatedness between countries, showing that populations that are genetically closer are more prone to go to war with each other, even after controlling for a wide set of measures of geographic distance and other factors that affect conflict, including measures of trade and democracy.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15095


Dynastic marriages were often arranged in Europe to ensure piece between different countries, although they generally just caused worse problems in later generations by multiplying the number of claimants to the throne. One common type of war well into the 18th Century were Wars of Succession between rival claimants who ruled other countries to a vacant throne. For example, in 1066, William the Conqueror of Normandy first put forward his claim to the throne of England based upon three different genealogical lines of descent. Similarly, English predation on France in the Hundred Years War was justified based on various genealogical theories legitimizing the King of England's claim to the French throne. Joan of Arc was one of the first to forcibly advance the modern nationalist view that the English should just go home to their island and leave the French alone.

It would be interesting to see examples of adjoining peoples who aren't closely related to each other. The most obvious I can think of are Tibetans and lowland Indians. I suspect they haven't fought that much because they don't want each other's land. Indian women can't reliably bear children at Tibet's altitude and Tibetans suffer grievously from malaria below about 5000 feet.
3. Life at the top: the benefits of height
Angus S. Deaton, Raksha Arora

Abstract -----

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index daily poll of the US population, taller people live better lives, at least on average. They evaluate their lives more favorably, and they are more likely to report a range of positive emotions such as enjoyment and happiness. They are also less likely to report a range of negative experiences, like sadness, and physical pain, though they are more likely to experience stress and anger, and if they are women, to worry. These findings cannot be attributed to different demographic or ethnic characteristics of taller people, but are almost entirely explained by the positive association between height and both income and education, both of which are positively linked to better lives.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15090

The British Tory cabinet of 1895, the last to be dominated by members of the House of Lords, averaged over six feet in height. I suspect it wasn't just better nutrition and fewer infections, but also selection for height in the mating market.

Back when Hollywood used to make femme fatale movies, the femme fatales were notable for their long legs. It was a signal to the audience that the regular guy hero was getting himself in over his head.
4. Birth Cohort and the Black-White Achievement Gap: The Roles of Access and Health Soon After Birth
Kenneth Y. Chay, Jonathan Guryan, Bhashkar Mazumder

Abstract -----

One literature documents a significant, black-white gap in average test scores, while another finds a substantial narrowing of the gap during the 1980's, and stagnation in convergence after. We use two data sources -- the Long Term Trends NAEP and AFQT scores for the universe of applicants to the U.S. military between 1976 and 1991 -- to show: 1) the 1980's convergence is due to relative improvements across successive cohorts of blacks born between 1963 and the early 1970's and not a secular narrowing in the gap over time; and 2) the across-cohort gains were concentrated among blacks in the South. We then demonstrate that the timing and variation across states in the AFQT convergence closely tracks racial convergence in measures of health and hospital access in the years immediately following birth. We show that the AFQT convergence is highly correlated with post-neonatal mortality rates and not with neonatal mortality and low birth weight rates, and that this result cannot be explained by schooling desegregation and changes in family background. We conclude that investments in health through increased access at very early ages have large, long-term effects on achievement, and that the integration of hospitals during the 1960's affected the test performance of black teenagers in the 1980's.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15078

Basically, being a black sharecropper in the Jim Crow South stunk.
5. Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages
Naci H. Mocan, Erdal Tekin

Abstract -----

Obesity is associated with serious health problems, and it can generate adverse economic outcomes. We analyze a nationally-representative sample of young American adults to investigate the interplay between obesity, wages and self-esteem. Wages can be impacted directly by obesity, and they can be influenced by obesity indirectly through the channel of obesity to self-esteem to wages. We find that female wages are directly influenced by body weight, and self-esteem has an impact on wages in case of whites. Being overweight or obese has a negative impact on the self-esteem of females and of black males. The results suggest that obesity has the most significant impact on white women's wages.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15101


Upper middle class people are least likely to be obese, but those who are obese are probably most likely to suffer low self-esteem since it's most disfavored among their class. (This is one of those abstracts where you wonder if they looked at IQ.)

6. Opting For Families: Recent Trends in the Fertility of Highly Educated Women
Qingyan Shang, Bruce A. Weinberg

Abstract -----

Observers have argued about whether highly-educated women are opting out of their careers and for families. If so, it is natural to expect fertility to increase and, insofar as children are associated with lower employment, further declines in employment. This paper provides a comprehensive study of recent trends in the fertility of college-graduate women. We study fertility at a range of ages; consider both the intensive and extensive margins, explore a range of data sets; and study the period from 1940 to 2006. In contrast to most existing work, we find that college graduate women are indeed opting for families. Fertility increases at almost all ages along both the intensive and extensive margins since the late 1990s or 2000 and this recent increase in fertility is consistent across datasets.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15074


I do have a sense that upper middle class Americans are carving out of the rubble left over from the changes of the 1960s a semi-sustainable culture based on a lot of unspoken rules (monogamy, births within marriage, intensive investment in children, etc.). Still, they're in danger of getting swamped: the birth data shows that from 2005 to 2007, the number of babies born in the United States to married women declined 0.3 percent. In contrast, the number born to unmarried women grew 12.3 percent.

7. Schooling, Cognitive Skills, and the Latin American Growth Puzzle

Eric A. Hanushek, Ludger Woessmann

Abstract -----

Economic development in Latin America has trailed most other world regions over the past four decades despite its relatively high initial development and school attainment levels. This puzzle can be resolved by considering the actual learning as expressed in tests of cognitive skills, on which Latin American countries consistently perform at the bottom. In growth models estimated across world regions, these low levels of cognitive skills can account for the poor growth performance of Latin America. Given the limitations of worldwide tests in discriminating performance at low levels, we also introduce measures from two regional tests designed to measure performance for all Latin American countries with internationally comparable income data. Our growth analysis using these data confirms the significant effects of cognitive skills on intra-regional variations. Splicing the new regional tests into the worldwide tests, we also confirm this effect in extended worldwide regressions, although it appears somewhat smaller in the regional Latin American data than in the worldwide data.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15066

Not surprising.

8. Do Race and Fairness Matter in Generosity? Evidence from a Nationally Representative Charity Experiment
Christina M. Fong, Erzo F.P. Luttmer

Abstract -----

We present a dictator game experiment where the recipients are local charities that serve the poor. Donors consist of approximately 1000 participants from a nationally representative respondent panel that is maintained by a private survey research firm, Knowledge Networks. We randomly manipulate the perceived race and worthiness of the charity recipients by showing respondents an audiovisual presentation about the recipients. The experiment yields three main findings. First, we find significant racial bias in perceptions of worthiness: respondents rate recipients of their own racial group as more worthy. Second, respondents give significantly more when the recipients are described as more worthy. These findings may lead one to expect that respondents would also give more generously when shown pictures of recipients belonging to their own racial group. However, our third result shows that this is not the case; despite our successfully manipulating perceptions of race, giving does not respond significantly to recipient race. Thus, while our respondents do seem to rate ingroup members as more worthy, they appear to overcome this bias when it comes to giving.

http://papers.nber.org/papers/w15064

Interesting.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

42 comments:

robert61 said...

Re Joyce, don't social scientists know the difference between "affect" and "effect", or is there really such a thing as "cohort affect"?

robert61 said...

"piece between different countries"

Never mind.

georgesdelatour said...

Genetically closer nations most likely to go to war?

I think this one is stupid. Off the top of my head:

The Iraq War, the Gulf War, the Vietnam War, the Algerian War, the Korean War, World War 2 in the Pacific, the war between Britain and Turkey in the Middle East during WW1, the Anglo Zulu Wars, the Indian Mutiny, Wounded Knee, Pizarro and Cortez's conquests of South America, the Crusades, the Moorish conquest of Spain...

Silver said...

First, we find significant racial bias in perceptions of worthiness: respondents rate recipients of their own racial group as more worthy. -- study #8

I think it's most noteworthy that the bias exists rather than that it was overcome in a special, "emergency" situation (charity). I'm sure the bias manifests itself in manifold subtle (and not so subtle ) ways in ordinary contexts. After all, there's something about racial diversity that destroys trust.

Silver said...

Genetically closer nations most likely to go to war?

I think this one is stupid. Off the top of my head
-- quote from georgesdelatour

Well, historically don't nations went to war with nations that they bordered. And given the historic spread of peoples, nations have been most likely to border other nations genetically similar to themselves. So of course they went to war with people genetically similar. The same factors that kept people genetically separate (bodies of water, mountain ranges) also prevented them from warring on one another (to the same degree).

Anonymous said...

I am seeing a lot more white yuppie babies in Chicago. Maybe a primeval survival mechanism is finally kicking in among European descended people.

John Anello said...

The myth that abortion reduces crime is still taught as an undisputed fact in most college criminology classes; the counterargument is never presented. I suspect this myth is still paraded as fact because it makes liberal professors feel good about their support for the murder of the unborn. They can say to themselves “See abortion has actually helped society!” Wrong!
Criminological research shows that crime rates correlate much stronger with economic conditions and unemployment figures, fluctuations in the 18-24 year old male population, shifts in drug use (crackheads are typically more violent than heroin junkies), and unusual spikes in the release rates of convicts.

dearieme said...

Scots almost always fought wars against their close kin the Norse, Irish and English. There was no-one else available.

master_of_americans said...

Tibetans and lowland Indians didn't go to war very often, I think, because of the giant mountain range in the way. This didn't stop Tibetans from conquering chunks of northern India in the 8th centuries, albeit briefly (perhaps they learned their lesson and chose not to stick around). I don't think anybody really wants Tibetan land very much, but Mongols still went out of their way to conquer it a few times. That might be considered a peculiarity of the Mongol national character, though.

Anonymous said...

Scots almost always fought wars against their close kin the Norse, Irish and English. There was no-one else available.

You gotta work with watcha got!

Jonathan said...

Genetically closer nations are probably more likely to go to war just because of proximity. But if you look at a lot of georgesdelatour's counter examples closey they fall apart - Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs was really non-Aztec tribes attacking their closely related Aztec cousins at Spanish instigation. In the Middle East in WWI again most of the actual fighting was Arab vs. Turk not British vs. Turk. The Korean war of course was really Koreans vs. Koreans with the US and China assisting, the same in Vietnam. The US did not declare war against the Korean nation or the Vietnamese nation. WWII in the Pacific was mostly about the Japanese fighting the Chinese and trying to conquer other bits of Asia - the US vs Japan part was a sideshow in terms of total casualties. There are many modern examples of non-related groups living next to each other who have not gone to war (yet) - the Russian-Chinese border in the Far East, Australia - Indonesia, the US-Mexico border (thought that should have been obvious), and the Semitic-Negro fault line across most of Northern Africa. It may well be that genetically disparate groups don't go to war historically because the difference in cultural development leads to one group simply colonizing the other, or, as in the Tibet-Indian case the neither group lives well in the other environment. This is probably also why Semitic tribes never pushed hard below the Sahara - they simply couldn't deal with the diseases and climate as well as the Blacks who were already there.

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting study from Australia based on the black names resume experiment.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j3zjqtoWMyBvaUFxZa3hXGchv7yQ

"They found Chinese applicants needed to send 68 percent more CVs than those with English names to get the same number of interviews, with Middle Eastern job-seekers requiring an additional 64 percent and Aborigines 35 percent.

The information about the applicants' qualifications for the advertised position was identical, leaving the name as the only variable for employers to decide whether to grant an interview."

"The researchers suggested recently arrived migrant groups faced the most prejudice, pointing out that Italians -- well established since the 1940s -- needed to send only 12 percent more applications than Anglo Saxons."

I'm especially surprised at the moderate amount of bias towards Italians.

David said...

Steve said

"the femme fatales were notable for their long legs. It was a signal to the audience that the regular guy hero was getting himself in over his head."

LOL

TH said...

I don't think anybody really wants Tibetan land very much...

The Chinese disagree with you.

testiing99 said...

Charles Murray has some data and thoughts on this Steve: Link Here echoing that the Upper Class has maintained the nuclear family.

However, the middle class is tipping into illegitimacy, up to 20% according to Murray, for White Middle Class.

I've seen other data, IIRC the WSJ, sorry no cite, that suggests that the birth rate for educated White women is up, but it's among 20 something single mothers.

IF women are hard-wired for hypergamy (desire men more powerful than themselves) then single motherhood is an unstoppable force, absent the politically impossible prospect of rolling back women's stations in life.

Murray's data are at least not contradictory to that theory (i.e. Upper Class men are probably higher status/power than most women, able to "attract" marriage and family vs. single motherhood.)

Jonathon -- Not a sideshow (US-Japan) for US or Japanese casualties. The Japanese suffered little from China and indigenous peoples of SE Asia, who had little military forces. They suffered a LOT from the US Military, and vice versa. The firebombing of Tokyo for example killed about 300-400K people.

Moreover it took Cortez to topple the Aztecs, as it did Pizarro the Incas, because they were the only ones with a concept of total war (fight until your enemy is destroyed) rather than "face battles" and the same goes true for the Zulus-British, or Algerians and French, or Greeks-Turks (most of the Turks are Central Asian vs. Hellene Greeks) or Turks-Arabs, or the Barbarian Invaders (Germanic tribes) vs. Romans, Gauls, Britains, and other Italo-Celt mixtures like the Iberians. Then there's the Mongol and Hun invasions, and so on.

A more refined version of the theory would be, neighboring/related peoples go to war, but periodically a distant, unrelated people with significant technological or other advantages sweeps in and conquers a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

TH said...

"I don't think anybody really wants Tibetan land very much..."

The Chinese disagree with you.


As far as the Chinese are concerned, Tibet is part of China, just like Taiwan, and has been so for a long time. Well before the Qing dynasty.

Anonymous said...

---I'm especially surprised at the moderate amount of bias towards Italians.---

Mamma Mia!

-Guido

dc watcher said...

The Japanese suffered little from China and indigenous peoples of SE Asia, who had little military forces.

I don't know how much the Japanese suffered from the Chinese, but the Chinese and Koreans certainly suffered from the Japanese, as did quite a few other Asians, especially Filipinos and Malays. The evil deeds of the Japanese during WWII are about as bad as they get. Yet the Japanese are among the most civilized and humane people under normal circumstances. Highly organized and civilized cultures generally keep violence under control but when it it is motivated to war, watch out.

bmt said...

Could you please give me the citation for the height of the British Tory cabinet of 1895?

Steve Sailer said...

Citation for height of British Tory cabinet of 1895 -- see the first chapter of The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman.

nsam said...

Interesting caveat follows the main finding of no bias in giving. The last sentence is probably a nod to PC.
--------

Despite our successfully manipulating perceptions of race, respondents give about the same amount irrespective of the race of
the recipients in the pictures. Thus, while our respondents do rate ingroup members as more worthy, they appear to overcome this bias when it comes to giving.

As we will explain in the conclusion, we do not believe that our failure to find racial bias in
giving contradicts prior evidence of discrimination and racial group loyalty. First, racism may have been higher in the past. Second, there may be racial discrimination in the real world that our study fails to detect. Finally, even if there currently is no racial bias in individual preferences for redistribution, cumulative effects of prior discrimination may
cause racial inequalities to persist.

master_of_americans said...

What I meant was, people don't want to live on Tibetan land. Even the modern Han Chinese migrants to Tibet live almost 100% in urban areas.

James Kabala said...

Jonathan: Excellent post, except that the U.S. and Mexico did go to war from 1846-1848.

Anonymous said...

You keep trotting this crap out, t99, but you have no evidence for it.

I used to be a nanny, I have four children now, I have spent my entire adult life in the upper middle class mommy hood. Demographically speaking, single mothers who have never been married are lower class. Individual exceptions are not numerous enough to matter and they never will be.

David Davenport said...

The Korean war of course was really Koreans vs. Koreans with the US and China assisting...

Wrong. After the Chinese crossed the Yalu River, the "Korean" war was mostly USA versus the Chinese People's Liberation Army.


... - the US vs Japan part was a sideshow in terms of total casualties.

Non-Japanese civilian casualties, maybe. But not in terms of civilian or military Japanese casualties.

There are many modern examples of non-related groups living next to each other who have not gone to war .... the US-Mexico border (thought that should have been obvious)..

Americans have never been quite literally at war with Mexico?

ironrailsironweights said...

There was an interesting study from Australia based on the black names resume experiment.

They found Chinese applicants needed to send 68 percent more CVs than those with English names to get the same number of interviews, with Middle Eastern job-seekers requiring an additional 64 percent and Aborigines 35 percent.

.
.
.
I'm very surprised, having always thought that there was little prejudice against Chinese in Australia, and a lot against Aborigines.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Japanese crimes have been inflated a bit after the fact. Most of the figures for Nanking come from a single source, a Chinese doctor who testified at the war crimes trial. His testimony conflicts with the written testimony of the Japanese military, the Red Cross and Germans who were in China at the time. The actual number of civilians killed is probably much less than typically reported. Most of the history has been written by Iris Chang, whose ethnic identity issues and inability to read primary sources in their original language make her an unreliable historian.

Lucius Vorenus said...

And I'd have to kick myself if I didn't mention this fellow, from up North, who flourished from about 1291 until 1308.

Or this fellow, who flourished from about 1365 to 1384.

Anonymous said...

Question re abortion cut crime controversy:

It always struck me as strange that Levitt and Donahue are not correct. NAMs make disproportionate use of abortion. I read that the black rate was around 50% in the US. This probably means that NAMs would be a much greater portion of the US population sans abortion (assuming they wouldn't adjust their sexual behavior much). Since Blacks commit violent and property crimes at around 7 to 10 times the non-hispanic white rate and hispanics commit violent and property crimes at around 3 times the white rate, one would assume that without abortions, the US would have a lot more of such crimes per capita due to the different demographic composition of the population? I can buy the argument that legal abortion doesn't have much of an effect on the per capita frequency at which whites, blacks, and hispanics commit crimes, but I would think that the different demographic development caused by legal abortion would have to affect US rates as a whole?

tom said...

"Keep in mind that Japanese crimes have been inflated a bit after the fact. "



Well argued Anon. We need more of this type of myth debunking of WWII. Also of the Western theatre.

georgesdelatour said...

Jonathan

What actually constitutes "going to war"? The colonization of the western hemisphere, from Columbus and Cortes to Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee, and the colonization of Australia, often effectively amounted to war against the indigenous population - certainly from the point of view of the indigenous. Admittedly there weren't too many set-piece battles, in the manner of Waterloo.

I'd say most of my other examples still stand - the Moorish invasion of Spain (and the subsequent Reconquista), the Crusades, Mahmud of Ghazni's wars in India, the Indian Mutiny, the Anglo Zulu wars, the French-Algerian war, Mau Mau, the Philippine-American War. I think your characterization of the Vietnam War is wrong. The US dropped more bombs on Vietnam than were dropped by all sides combined in World War Two - and, in fact, dropped six times more bombs on South Vietnam than on North Vietnam. The war is simply called "the American War" in Vietnamese.

stari_momak said...

Jonathan: Excellent post, except that the U.S. and Mexico did go to war from 1846-1848.

And we took Veracruz in, I believe, 1910, and of course there was the Pershing punitive expedition, and the Zimmerman telegram...

Also, Mexico itself, under both Spanish rule and as an independent state, was constantly involved in what must be called a race war on its northern frontier -- the Apacheria. Read "Blood Meridian" for a fictionalized account. And then too Mexica had a war it quite literally calls a race war, La Guerra de Castas, against the Maya in the Yucatan. It would be interesting to see if either of these made it into the dataset and how they were coded.

Anonymous said...

From the Latin American paper:

"When using the data from the international student achievement tests through 1991 to build a measure of cognitive skills, Hanushek and Kimko (2000) find a statistically and economically significant positive effect of cognitive skills on economic growth in 1960-1990 that dwarfs the association between years of schooling and growth. Their estimates stem from a statistical model that relates annual growth rates of real GDP per capita to the measure of cognitive skills, years of schooling, the initial level of income, and a variety of other control variables. They find that adding cognitive skills to a base specification including only initial income and years of schooling boosts the variance in GDP per capita among the 31 countries in their sample that can be explained by the model from 33 to 73 percent. At the same time, the effect of years of schooling is greatly reduced by including cognitive skills, leaving it mostly insignificant, while adding other factors leaves the effects of cognitive skills basically unchanged. The general pattern of results is duplicated by a series of other studies that pursue different tests and specifications along with different variations of skills measurement."

We are only mice running in our little wheels...

- Billare

dc watcher said...

Keep in mind that Japanese crimes have been inflated a bit after the fact...Most of the history has been written by Iris Chang, whose ethnic identity issues and inability to read primary sources in their original language make her an unreliable historian.

Yes, I am aware of this controversy regarding the Rape of Nanking book. However, we have plenty of witnesses of western extraction who were there and have described the horrors. One missionary whose name escapes me commited suicide when she returned the US because she felt she had not saved enough people. She is considered a hero among the Chinese even today, who don't have many westerners they revere.
The Japanese deeds in Korea and Malaysia, not to mention the Philippines, are well documented. They even raised hell in Australia, and let us not forget the infamous case of the poor American "Flyboys" who were systematically cannibalized.
Taking not of this does not mean one is anti-Japanese. The Japanese are among the few nations who have had the grace to officially blush for the atrocities commited by some among them in the past. In a word, they do have a sense of responsibility and accountability, major attributes of truly intelligent, rational, eminently human cultures. A lot of Americans can't believe what some of our military and government is doing now, in our names. The dichotomy of violent and humane behaviors in advanced nations, is IMHO, one of the great modern mysteries.

georgesdelatour said...

And I forgot to mention the Boxer Rebellion.

Anonymous said...

---Keep in mind that Japanese crimes have been inflated a bit after the fact.---

I'll tell my Grandfather...

dc watcher said...

Keep in mind that Japanese crimes have been inflated a bit after the fact. "
Well argued Anon. We need more of this type of myth debunking of WWII. Also of the Western theatre.

"Well argued"? That Chinese doctor was not the only person reporting on Naking, though I am not an expert on that particular instance, and was only thinking of it as a part of the whole.http://www.vcn.bc.ca/alpha/speech/Harris.htm
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Iris Chang plainly stated that she considered the Japanese actions to be the result of the deadly inevitability of total power bringing total corruption and some innate evilness, for indeed you could find plenty of historic examples among the Chinese. In fact, some of the things the Japanese were accused of were actually more frequently committed by the Chinese historically. So yes, the victims may have inflated the figures of the dead for propaganda purposes. The unfortunate casualties of "military actions" have often been used in history for larger purposes, deflated, inflated, denied altogether or even made up.

However, to argue well one would have to explain why Koreans, the Filippinos, Malaysians, and any number of Japanese occupied islanders in the Pacific, all recall the Japanese with a degree of horror. Or at least the generation who lived through WWII did. The Japanese had a dreadful reputation during WWII, quite at variance with what they were known for earlier. In my position at an aid agency, I had to review books written on the subject. While some aspersions may be unjustified, MacArthur decided to bring Japan back into the fold of world society and despite his regard for the Philippines, kept information about Japanese misdeeds at a minimum. http://ww2history.suite101.com/article.cfm/bataan_death_march_of_april_1942
There was probably more squelching of atrocity information than exaggeration.
The Japanese were probably no more atrocious than any other very powerful machine rolling over those in their way.

Edward said...

War and relatedness

The methodology mixes up two kinds of wars and two kinds of eras: ancient and modern.

It would be more revealing to treat civil wars, groups fighting for control of an existing territory, and expansionist wars, where one group fights for control of an additional territory to the one it already had. One form of war is characteristic of population expansion, the other contraction (of the ruling population?).

While the combatants in civil wars share a high degree of relatedness, the combatants of inter-state wars of expansion* must be less closely related.

When expansionist wars do occur the population expansion may be limited to areas where the expansionist power is comfortable fighting and living. When the expansionist state fights in an unfavourable environment it uses locals to fight its war and send over only a ruling elite to live there (British India).

*Eg.
The Colonialist powers
Japan
The United States
The Mongols - special case

Lucius Vorenus said...

The LIFO stack seems to have eaten the first half of my comment.

Let's try it again:

Paleo The British were only creative for about 3 centuries, from roughly 1600-1900.

Yeah, we'll all just agree to overlook that little incident in 1215 AD.

Or anything in the 20th Century involving this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy or this guy...

Truth said...

"Paleo The British were only creative for about 3 centuries, from roughly 1600-1900."

London is still the first, or perhaps second, most influential city in the world depending upon whom you ask.

Anonymous said...

"the Vietnam War"

What the war between South Vietnam and North Vietnam?

"the Korean War"

The war between South Korea and North Korea?

Janet Brown said...

This is just one more reminder that the private sector and competitive market forces, not the federal government, are the best means to meeting our country's rapidly expanding health care needs.

I was looking for a way to try and do something positive about it, and just signed a petition with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here to help emphasize that. We need to get involved!