There are certain studies which are of particular interest to those who are interested in politics, which I come across and then forget, only to search for them again. Even if only for my own future reference, here are a few interesting ones:
Apparently, the town of Dauphin, Manitoba was used for a sociological experiment in the 1970s, in which every resident was given a guaranteed minimum income regardless of their circumstances. They were then compared to residents of nearby towns in similar economic straits but without this program in operation. The result: contrary to popular belief, it did not cause people to stop working. The only people who worked less under the guaranteed minimum income program were teenagers (who tended to go back to school) and new mothers (who tended to raise their children). In both cases, that is an outcome that most people find desirable. This tears a big hole in the popular conservative notion that minimum income would make people stop working: apparently, nobody is particularly happy to live on a minimum income, and rather than simply laying about on it, will use it as a springboard to attempt to move up the socio-economic ladder.
A researcher named Joe Henrich decided to conduct numerous psychological experiments which had been done before in the US, but he conducted them on residents of foreign cultures. The results were startling: many of the conclusions drawn by psychologists from prior research on Americans were assumed to be universal human traits, but were in fact unique to Americans. This has many far-reaching ramifications for the field of psychology, since the bulk of psychological research has been conducted on Americans.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2003, the administrative overhead cost of American health care is roughly three times as high per capita as the administrative overhead cost of Canadian health care. Not only does this blow a hole in the widespread assumption that private industry is always more efficient than government, but it explains much of the soaring cost of American health care.
“Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha And Jamal?” Researchers conducted experiments in which they sent out resumes with identical information except for one difference: “white-sounding” versus “ethnic-sounding” names. The results were startling: white-sounding names received 50% more call-backs for interviews after sending out otherwise identical resumes. Not only that, but the effect of higher-quality resumes was more pronounced for the people with white-sounding names. Variations of this study have been conducted independently in different areas, with similar results. For those who call for an end to “affirmative action”, this study rather inconveniently points out that the raison d’etre for affirmative action still continues to exist, and that it merely levels the playing field rather than unfairly tilting it toward minorities.