FREAK-est Links

1. Is male fertility declining? Or do we need more data?

2. The internet industry is considering adding over 1,000 new domains, but some are worried about infrastructure effects.

3. Harry Potter novelist J.K. Rowling's crime novel hits #1 on the Amazon bestseller list, less than a week after she was revealed as the book's author.

4. So you want to invest in the (legal) marijuana industry?

5. How long is the average PhD dissertation? Econ lands on the short side.  (HT: Eric Jones)

6. The new era of music: how much does Spotify pay its artists? Next to nothing.

China's "Little Emperors"

In a Freakonomics Radio episode called “Misadventures in Baby-Making,” we looked at the unintended consequences of China's One Child Policy. A new paper (gated) in Science looks at the so-called "little emperors" and how they might impact China's economy. From Bloomberg:

China’s one-child policy has produced adults that tend to have personality traits unsuited for starting businesses or managing companies, according to a study that adds to economic concerns surrounding the rule.

Using surveys of 421 men and women in Beijing and testing their skills in economic games, researchers in Australia found those born after the 1979 policy were more pessimistic, nervous, less conscientious, less competitive and more risk averse. They also found them to be 23 percent less prone to choose an occupation that entails business risk, such as becoming a stockbroker, entrepreneur or private firm manager.

(HT: Katherine Wells)

Fertility: Canadian Pioneer Style

Pioneers breed like rabbits, or so says a new study published in Science and reviewed in Scientific American. The study analyzed marriage and birth records in Canada's Charlevoix Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean region (northeast of Quebec City) and found that "families living on the edges of the expansions had 20 percent more children than families living at the settlement's core. They also married one year earlier, on average, and contributed up to four times more genes to the region's current population." Henry Harpending, an anthropologist unaffiliated with the study, compares the behavior of pioneers to plant species:

Don't Call it a Comeback: Euro-Babies on the Rise

Along with its current sovereign debt issues, Europe has been facing a declining birthrate for the last couple decades- something that becomes a particular problem when welfare systems don't have enough young contributors to support the old. But according to a recent RAND research brief, European fertility rates appear to be bouncing back.

Many European governments have been concerned about falling fertility rates, due to the welfare implications of an aging population supported by a shrinking workforce. However, ‘doomsday’ scenarios of fertility spiraling downwards and European populations imploding have not materialized; indeed, recent snapshots of indicators for childbearing suggest some recovery in fertility.

European women are still waiting longer to have children, but they're having them at the same rate that they did a generation ago. The initial period in the 1970s and 1980s when women waited to have children left a data set that might be more of a hiccup than a permanent population change.

IVF's Magic Number

According to a new study published in the medical journal Human Reproduction, there is a magic number of eggs for successful in-vitro fertilization: 15. Analyzing more than 400,000 IVF cycles in the U.K., the study found that:

There was a strong association between the number of eggs and LBR (live birth rate); LBR rose with an increasing number of eggs up to 15, plateaued between 15 and 20 eggs and steadily declined beyond 20 eggs. ... The results showed a non-linear relationship between the number of eggs and LBR following IVF treatment. The number of eggs to maximize the LBR is 15.

King Condom

Police in Hunan province, China, raided a workshop said to be producing counterfeit condoms. According to the (U.K.) Times:

Bare-chested employees were found using vegetable oil to lubricate the condoms to make them smooth and shiny before placing them directly in fiber bags without bothering with sterilization.

A New Look at Old Demographic Myths

Martin Walker of the Woodrow Wilson Center describes some surprising demographic trends. Contrary to popular belief, birth rates have risen in northern Europe and the United States in recent years and fallen across much of Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In fact, the fertility rate in the United States is at its highest […]

Did Soap Operas Shrink Brazil’s Families?

Between 1960 and 2000, Brazil’s fertility rate plummeted from 6.3 to 2.3. The only other country with a comparable decline during that period was China, under its rigid one-child policy. But what was behind the Brazilian fertility plunge? One major factor may have been the influence of soap operas, according to a fascinating new working […]

Medicine and Statistics Don’t Mix

Some friends of mine recently were trying to get pregnant with the help of a fertility treatment. At great financial expense, not to mention pain and inconvenience, six eggs were removed and fertilized. These six embryos were then subjected to Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (P.G.D.), a process which cost $5,000 all by itself. The results that […]

The FREAK-est Links

Second Life closes banks, causes upheaval (Earlier) The micro-economy of Britney Spears If you’re willing to be in a psych experiment, does that mean you shouldn’t be in one? Fertility tied to wealth in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries