Do We Drink Because We're Monogamous, or Are We Monogamous Because We Drink?

Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast is called "Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?" It features some research presented by the American Association of Wine Economists, whose members include Karl Storchmann, managing editor of the group's Journal of Wine Economics.

Storchmann wrote to us the other day about an interesting working paper the AAWE has just posted: "Women or Wine? Monogamy and Alcohol," by Mara Squicciarini and Jo Swinnen.

A Very Interesting Paragraph From …

... Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy, by Viviana A. Zelizer, an economic sociologist at Princeton: Suppose for a moment that this is the year 2096. Let's take a look at American families: although by now money often takes postelectronic forms unfamiliar to the twentieth century, in the "traditional" home, "housewives" and "househusbands" receive monthly stipulated sums of money as salaries from their wage-earning spouses.

Labor Market Arbitrage

The Economist explains how discrimination in the labor market can be reduced by competition in product markets. As in the U.S., Korean women obtain at least the same education as men; but their rates of labor-force participation are much further below those of men than is true in the U.S., and that's even true for highly educated women. This provides room for companies to hire equally or more qualified women at the same or even lower wages than men.

Personnel Economics: Paying the Babysitter

Very applied personnel economics. During an upcoming stay in Florida with the extended family, all six adults want to go out to a fancy dinner, leaving the six kids alone (since their parents say the older ones - boy, 14; boy, 13; girl, 12; girl, 11 - can care for the little boys, ages 7 and 4). The older ones have had a lot of successful babysitting experience, and their parents say they typically get paid. But what payment mechanism is both efficient (will induce careful babysitting) and equitable?

What Do Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and Christine O'Donnell Have in Common?

A few weeks back, I revealed myself to be the humorless, politically-correct parent that I am, complaining about the gender roles represented by Lego's new line of Minifigures. My complaint: Of the sixteen Minifigures, the only two that were women were a Cheerleader and a Nurse. Ever the earnest parent, I hope my daughter can imagine herself creating a life beyond these stereotypical roles.

For a First Date, Wear Red

A new study, summarized in the BPS Research Digest, finds that when it comes to the color red, humans aren't that different from chimps: they both love red.

Congratulations Fran Blau!

Fran Blau is one of my favorite labor economists in the world: She's smart, savvy, tackles important problems, and also incredibly generous in helping younger scholars and colleagues with their own research. She is now also the winner of this year's IZA Prize in Labor Economics.

Women Who Make More

The first chapter of SuperFreakonomics, and a recent Q&A, addressed the pervasive male-female wage gap, but there does seem to be one subset of women who make more money than their male peers.

When a Changing Labor Market Changes Business

There are innumerable great examples of goods in related markets. And of complements and substitutes. (One of my favorites is the local store that sold rock music and condoms, clearly complements.) It's harder to cook up neat examples of goods markets that are impinged upon by labor-market changes.

More Chores Might Mean More Sex

A new study from sociologists Constance Gager and Scott Yabiku shows that household labor and sexual frequency are not inversely related -- a welcome contradiction to the common "more work = less sex" equation. Using data from the National Survey of Families and Households, the authors show that certain types of couples have superior time-organization skills across all their major time commitments: the workplace, at home and in bed.