Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Africa: The Negative Economics of Penis Size

University of Helsinki's Tatu Westlin and his much discussed academic paper "Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?" explores the relationship between the GDP growth of countries and the penile length of their residents - for which data is openly available online. Lots in the paper about how Africa stacks up:

GDP numbers for 1985 versus male organ sizes (pg 6-8):
The OLS estimates indicate that the size of male organ has a marked effect on the 1985 per capita GDP.... The inclusion of male organ does not materially change the results with respect to investment ratio [I/GDP] or human capital [SCHOOL]. However, as can be seen from Model (4), political regime type [POLITY1980] does not seem to alter the role of male organ. Quite interestingly it also suggests that from the GDP perspective male organs dwarf political institutions in importance { yet this result must be taken with reservations. Model (5) indicates that male organ is significant even after controlling for Africa [AFRICA].
Westlin reminds us on Page 4 why studies like this need to "control for Africa":
In accordance with much of the growth literature, a region dummy for African countries is included in the regressions. Here it refers to all countries on the continent, not only on sub-Saharan Africa. The various reasons for including African and other regional dummies have been extensively discussed in the literature. However, here it is included as a robustness check as African countries are characterized by above-average penile lengths but generally low GDPs. This is encouraging since it suggests that the results are not driven by Africa's high ORGAN/GDP.
On the inverse U-shaped relationship (see chart above) between size of male organ and level of GDP in 1985 (page 8):
Figure (1) plots the relationship between 1985 GDP and male organ. In this OLS regression the only explanatory variable is ORGAN in the quadratic form. It is noteworthy that the male organ can alone explain over 15% of the variation in GDPs. The inverted U-shaped relationship also shows how the GDPs collapse when the average penile length exceeds 16 centimetres. Most of these countries are found in Africa and Latin America. However, at the lower-end a similar pattern is found: the majority of countries with male organs smaller than 12 centimetres are relatively poor. These are often Asian countries. In conclusion, the inverted U-shaped link between the 1985 GDP and male organ seems robust. Interestingly it remains highly signi cant even with the full set of controls.
According to the graphs countries maximizing their GDP have penile sizes averaging at 13.5 centimeters; countries economies collapse when sizes exceed 16 centimeters. However, Westlin warns:
For obvious reasons the male organ narrative yields little in terms of feasible policy recommendations. Beyond mass [im]migration, not much can be done on the average size of male organ at the population level. Still, one practical and serious implication stands out. Namely, these findings spell trouble for countries with large male organs since they evidence both low levels and growth rates of GDPs. In fact it would be interesting to analyze whether the patterns laid out here have any predictive power in the post-1985 era..
A fun paper producing a strong "urge" to conclude that the endowed African male population, like the attractive blonde stereotype, have little or zero motivation to develop brain cells. But I'm willing to bet that if in 1985 every African male penile size averaged a GDP-maximizing 13.5 centimeters, those African GDPs would still remain stuck at low. Dysfunctional systemics thump above average dick sizes any day.

Interview with Westlin over at Global Post. Huff Post animates Westlin's chart.

H/T: Kottke


bingol said...

Admit it, you just posted that because you knew I couldn't resist commenting!

But all I can say is, I'm gonna counting in centimeters instead of inches. I'm pretty sure that alone will double my productivity.

bunmi said...

lol. i knew u couldn't resist!!

rockcharnwood said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the stats in that paper are rubbish. The curve in that figure does not look like a convincing match at all... Or did you publish it despite its rubbish-osity?


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