by Noah Carl
Wednesday, 27
September 2023

The cost-of-living crisis won’t lead to ‘thousands’ of early deaths

A new study makes a wildly exaggerated claim

A new study predicts that Britain’s cost-of-living crisis will cause a sharp rise in mortality. The study has prompted various alarming headlines, such as one in the Guardian that refers to “thousands of premature deaths”. But a closer look suggests that its predictions are unlikely to materialise.

Elizabeth Richardson and colleagues use data from Scotland to model how inflation will affect real household incomes, and how this in turn will affect mortality. Yet one of their key assumptions is highly questionable. In particular, they assume that the effect of income on mortality is given by the cross-sectional relationship between the two variables.  ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Tuesday, 15
August 2023
Campus Wars

The Guardian uses selective polling on campus free speech

The paper is desperate to disprove the idea of cancel culture

Last week, we received the results from 2023’s National Student Survey. For the first time, students in England were asked, “During your studies, how free did you feel to express your ideas, opinions, and beliefs?” No less than 86% said “very free” or “free”, while only 14% said “not free” or “not free at all”. This result has been taken by some commentators as proof that concerns over free speech and cancel culture are “unfounded”. But they’re mistaken: it proves no such thing. 

To begin with, the result doesn’t tell us much we didn’t already know. As the education researcher David Kernohan points out, “every time we survey students about freedom of speech issues, we find that around 14% of students have concerns”. For example, in the 2023 Student Academic Experience Survey, 14% of respondents disagreed with the statement “I feel comfortable expressing my view even if others disagree”. And it was exactly the same in 2022.  ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Friday, 14
July 2023

Is El Salvador the safest country in Latin America?

President Nayib Bukele made the claim on Twitter this week

Since taking office in June 2019, El Salvador’s social-media savvy president, Nayib Bukele, has cracked down harshly on the country’s criminal gangs. Touting his achievements on Twitter this week, he claimed that “we turned the world’s murder capital into the safest country in Latin America”. But is this true?

Bukele has variously described himself as a “philosopher king” and the “world’s coolest dictator”. And his crime-fighting methods are certainly not ones you’d associate with a conventional leader.

Shortly after taking office, he announced his Territorial Control Plan, which saw the deployment of heavily armed police and military personnel in neighbourhoods controlled by criminal gangs. More than 4,000 people were arrested in the first few weeks alone. The Plan’s implementation coincided with a dramatic decline in the homicide rate from 53 per 100,000 in 2018 to 18 per 100,000 by 2021. ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Tuesday, 4
July 2023

Is French police brutality a myth?

Commentators are wrong to suggest the country's officers are unusually violent

Since Nahel Merzouk was fatally shot by a police officer, sparking France’s worst riots since 2005, various commentators have claimed that the French police are unusually violent — and that this helps to explain the turbulent reaction. In the face of these claims, it is worth looking at what the data says.

“How the killing of a teen fits into France’s history of police brutality” runs the title of an article in the Washington Post. “French policing has a tendency to violence,” claims Jon Henley in the Guardian. “French cops have gotten more heavy-handed than anywhere else in Europe,” argues Michele Barbero in Foreign Policy. Yet aside from a few ad hoc figures, none of these articles presents supporting data.  ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Wednesday, 14
June 2023

Is politics killing the marriage market?

There's a surplus of liberal women and conservative men

Two of the most important trends in American life are the increasing tendency for women to identify as liberal, and the increasing intolerance shown by liberals to their ideological opponents. These trends are no doubt related, since women are more ideologically intolerant than men. Put together, they spell trouble for the future of marriage in the US.

In a recent article for the Atlantic, sociologists Lyman Stone and Brad Wilcox note that there’s now a surplus of liberal women and conservative men on the dating market. They analysed data from the General Social Survey and found that among single Americans aged 18–30 there are only 0.6 liberal men for each liberal woman, and only 0.5 conservative women for each conservative man.  ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Tuesday, 6
June 2023

Anti-woke boycotts hurt Target and Bud Light

Stock prices have plummeted since the backlash

Conservative activists have recently gone on the war path against woke corporations. In just the past few weeks, they’ve called for boycotts of Bud Light, Nike, Ford, Target, North Face, Chick-fil-A and the LA Dodgers. But are the boycotts working?  

When Bud Light announced that it was partnering with the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney back in April, it seemed like conservatives had finally had enough. Calls to boycott the beer quickly multiplied and Bud Light’s sales began falling. 

Other brands have been targeted for similar reasons. Nike also partnered with Mulvaney. Ford ran a “Very Gay Raptor” commercial. Target sold children’s books and clothes featuring trans-friendly slogans. North Face ran a “Summer of Pride” commercial. Chick-Fil-A hired a VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. And the LA Dodgers invited an anti-Christian group to join the team’s annual “Pride Night”. ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Tuesday, 30
May 2023

Black Lives Matter deserves to go broke

Public filings reveal that one of the movement's key groups is bleeding cash

The last week hasn’t been an easy one for Black Lives Matter. In recent days, public filings have revealed that a major group within the movement is “bleeding cash”, while further allegations have surfaced concerning misuse of donation funds. Should we have seen this coming?

After learning in July of 2013 that George Zimmerman had been acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, the activist Patrisse Cullors began using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter — and a movement was born. Later that year, Cullors and two other activists founded the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, whose mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities”. ...  Continue reading

by Noah Carl
Friday, 26
May 2023

Why high net migration is going to continue

A city the size of Glasgow was added to the population last year

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics published its latest estimates of long-term migration to and from the UK. Net migration for the year ending December 2022 — the figure everyone was waiting for — came in somewhat lower than expected. The Centre for Policy Studies had forecast that “net migration could hit between 700,000 and 997,000”. Yet the published figure is 606,000.

Although this is almost 100,000 less than expected, it’s still extremely high by historical standards. To see just how high, I’ve combined the ONS’s latest estimates with older data published by the House of Commons Library.  ...  Continue reading