A Book I Was Proud to Blurb: Unnatural Selection

The subtitle is Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men. The book is forthcoming, and the author is Mara Hvistendahl, who was a very good research assistant of mine some years back. Mara transcribed many hours of interview tape with an economist named Steve Levitt for a profile I was writing. She has become an excellent reporter and writer; here's my blurb:

"Yes, it's a rigorous exploration of the world's 'missing women,' but it's more than that, too: an extraordinarily vivid look at the implications of the problem. Hvistendahl writes beautifully, with an eye for detail but also the big picture. She has a fierce intelligence but, more important, a fierce intellectual independence; she writes with a hard edge but no venom -- rather, a cool and hard passion."

Prostitute Pay in India

We've written about prostitution more than a few times on this blog, and in SuperFreakonomics, we devoted an entire chapter to the economics of prostitution. Now comes an interesting bit of new academic research from India that draws similar conclusions: once you put aside your moral views, it's not hard to see that entry into the profession is driven by salary and career options.

Get Into My Car: The Congested Future of Worldwide Auto Ownership

Automobile ownership proceeds at a pace that depends on the absolute level of a nation's economic development. Driven by growth in China and India, the number of people who own cars is expected to reach 2 billion by 2030.

Renting Wombs in India

Slate takes a look at India's half-billion-dollar-a-year reproductive-tourism industry. "The primary appeal of India is that it is cheap, hardly regulated, and relatively safe," writes Amana Fontanella-Khan. "Surrogacy can cost up to $100,000 in the United States, while many Indian clinics charge $22,000 or less. Very few questions are asked. Same-sex couples, single parents and even busy women who just don't have time to give birth are welcomed by doctors."

The Unintended Consequence of "Son Preference"

Fascinating article in today's Washington Post by Emily Wax about how Indian brides-to-be are holding out for one particular convenience before committing to marriage: an indoor toilet.

But wait, you may say: women in India don't have the leverage to make such demands, do they?

India's Empties

We posted earlier about how a blogger named Dave Prager tried to figure out why the buses in Delhi kill so many people. Now he's back to explain how Delhi's upscale alcohol ads create demand for his empty liquor bottles, and give his maid a nice side income.

Why Delhi's Buses Kill People

On his blog about living in Delhi, Dave Prager tries to figure out why 100-plus citizens are killed by that city's blue buses each year:

White Tiger Author Aravind Adiga Answers Your Questions

Last week, we solicited your questions for Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger, a rambunctious tragicomic novel about modern India.

Bring Your Questions for White Tiger Author Aravind Adiga

I recently had occasion to visit India for the first time to speak at a conference put on by the media conglomerate India Today. Sadly my visit was very short, just a toe-touch. Still, it was fascinating from start to finish. On the way over, one of the flight attendants told me she was using […]

Did Those Sexy Missiles Sell?

| Earlier, we asked blog readers whether an Israeli arms firm could actually sell missiles to India with a Bollywood song-and-dance number. Apparently, they’ve sold quite a few — but despite, not because of the commercial, which reportedly evoked “incredulity and derision” from the Indian public and defense establishment. One senior defense officer told the […]