Saturday, June 20, 2015

Differential impact that no one wants to address

From Boys to men: Fathers, family, and opportunity by Richard V. Reeves.

Reeves is summarizing some of the many trends which have had a material negative consequence on the lives of men in the past couple of decades, with those consequences being in education attainment, mortality, poverty, etc.
The plight of less-educated men makes the worse educational performance of boys more troubling. As The Economist points out, teenage boys are now 50 percent more likely than girls to fail at all three key school subjects—math, reading and science—than girls, across OECD countries.

Boys appear to be more vulnerable to the effects of being raised by a single parent, and also to growing up in certain areas. The latest research from Harvard’s Raj Chetty (highlighted at a recent Center on Children and Families event) shows that the places children grow up has a causal impact on their later earnings. But the effects of growing up in a worse area are bigger for boys.

As a result of growing up in Baltimore City, for example, boys earn 27.9 percent less than the national average. The equivalent wage penalty for girls is just 5.4 percent:

Woof! Boys in poverty in Baltimore suffer 5 times greater consequences than girls? Obviously there are a lot of factors in play but I have heard no quantified discussion of that. That is a huge differential.

Perhaps it is that we are too early in the learning cycle and the numbers are not yet rigorous or the causal mechanisms are so ambiguous. But if true, then that failure to address such a yawning differential is a grave failure. I have long thought that the concerns about declining men's rights was overexcited prattle. Yes, there are some real issues in there, particularly when the federal government actively seeks to eliminate fundamental rights for males (see the Dear Colleague letter to universities effectively demanding that universities strip males of due process rights and hold them to a different standard of evidence than females). Likewise, as best I can tell, something like 40% of all rapes that occur in this country are perpetrated against men in prison. That is an especially egregious issue as these crimes are effectively being allowed to occur by the government against citizens in the care of that government. There have been efforts to address this outrageous issue but as far as I can tell with little beneficial outcome yet.

But overall there is too much precious whining to get too committed to the issue of how neglected men are. Though simply writing that previous paragraph makes me think perhaps I am discounting too much.

Regardless, Reeves' article, if the numbers bear up, is very compelling that there is a dreadful problem that is being ignored. With evidence like this, I can see why men's rights advocates can get the impression that there is an active campaign to punish men and ignore their sufferings.

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