Like a little bigger role for government? Then bring on to positions of economic influence more women.

A recent US national study finds that while most economists agree on core economic concepts, values and methods, they differ along gender lines in their views on important economic policy.

Women economists in the study, it found, are less likely to favor limiting government-backed redistribution policies than men. They also view gender inequality as a US labor market problem more than their male counterparts do, and are more likely to favor government intervention over market solutions than men.

Meanwhile, the average male economist sees government regulation as more excessive, exhibits greater support for reducing tariffs, and is more opposed to mandating that employers provide their employees health insurance.

The study — which claims to be the first systematic analysis of male and female economists’ views on a wide variety of policy issues — surveyed hundreds of members of the American Economic Association. The research team found that despite having similar training and adherence to core economic principles and methodology, male and female economists hold different opinions on particular current economic issues and specific economic policies including educational vouchers, health insurance and policies toward labor standards.

The study, to be published in a forthcoming in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy, is not yet available on the web so this summary is from a press release by the authors of it.

Some details:

“We wanted to learn if it would make any difference if men or women were at the table when economic policies were debated and alternatives considered,” said Ann Mari May, professor of economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business Administration and the study’s lead author. “These results suggest that the answer to that question is a clear and definitive yes.”

The research also found very different interpretations of the status of job opportunity for men and women, both in economics academia and in the broader job market. Male economists, on average, said that opportunities are relatively equal between the genders in the United States, while the average female economist in the study disagrees.

Similarly, when economists were asked about the gender wage gap, the average male economist agrees that differences in productivity and voluntary occupational choices lead to men earning more, while female economists tend to disagree.

The study comes at a time when the national discussion, including the presidential campaign, is dominated by the economy and about which policies are best for the United States. The authors say their results highlight the importance of including economists of both genders when forming policy to ensure that a variety of professional perspectives are included.

“If demographic differences such as sex help shape our views of policy related questions, it is important that women be included on boards and in policy-making circles at all levels of decision-making,” said Mary McGarvey, UNL associate professor of economics and one of the study’s co-authors.

“While including women in policy-making circles does not prevent the selection of only those individuals with shared beliefs, it nonetheless may increase the possibility that diverse viewpoints will be represented.”

Also among the findings:

  • By 20 percentage points, women economists are more likely to disagree that either the United States or the European Union has excessive government regulations. They also are 24 percentage points more likely to believe the size of the U.S. government is either “too small” or “much too small.”
  • Women are 41 percentage points more likely than men to favor a more progressive tax structure and 32 percentage points more likely to agree with making the U.S. income distribution more equal.
  • Men support the use of vouchers in education more strongly and were more likely to support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Backing Obama. If the consensus of the pollsters is anywhere near right then Barack Obama should be a very short priced favourite to remain president of the United States. The Real Clear Politics average of all the current poll polls has him 3.5 points clear of Mitt Romney with Gallup putting the lead at a massive seven points.

On my rough calculation that would make him a better than 80% chance yet while Obama has been shortening on the Crikey Presidential Election Indicator in the last few days the market is providing much better value than that.

It’s time, methinks, to open the wallet and risk a little of my own hard earned.

I’ve taken the 63.7% available at Intrade.

For anyone interested you will find a record of my little political bets on my web The Political Speculator.

Coaxing dormant follicles. I’m not getting my hopes up. As the story says, Researchers Target Vitamin D to Coax Dormant Follicles to Grow Hair; Early Promise, But Years to Go. For smokers my age there are not too many of those “years to go”.

Since my second front joined the receding hairline back in the 1960s I’ve read of many attempts at the miracle cure. Still for you younger lot partly or wholly deprived of hair on the head, The Wall Street Journal provides an update on the work of research teams still trying “to figure out ways to spur existing follicles — the tiny organs in the skin that give birth to hair — back into action, or to make new, active follicles.”

A quote for the day:

Brand a view of events a conspiracy, and you lump it in with moon landing denials and wilder accounts of the Roswell UFO incident. But conspiracies can happen in real life too; On Wednesday we learned about one that took place within the South Yorkshire police in 1989. In the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, which eventually killed 96, officers should have concentrated on learning the lessons to ensure it could never happen again. Instead, it transpires from the forensic work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, they looked after their own. In no fewer than 116 cases, the police substantially amended their own original written statements before submitting them to the inquiry, in order “to remove or alter comments unfavourable” to them.

Editorial in The Guardian

News and views noted along the way: