more nepotism in southern than in northern italy…

…in ACADEMIA! heh.

in all likelihood, anyway:

“Measuring Nepotism through Shared Last Names: The Case of Italian Academia”

“In Italy, nepotism is perceived as a cancer that has metastasized, invading many segments of society, including academia. The figure of the ‘barone’ (baron), the all-powerful senior professor who can, with a stroke of the pen, make or destroy careers, has permeated popular culture and is frequently represented in novels and movies. Nepotistic practices are especially damaging in a situation in which there are very few new positions (e.g. in Italy, for several years, all academic hires were put on hold). Despite legislative efforts aimed at eradicating nepotism, the general perception is that the practice is alive and well. The more blatant cases have gained the attention of the public, but the magnitude of the problem is unknown, as all the evidence is anecdotal….

“Recently, Durante et al. performed the first large-scale survey of co-occurrence of last names among Italian academics, and compared it with detailed geographical data on last name frequency. Their analysis showed that the degree of homonymity in academia is much higher than expected at random, especially in some disciplines and institutions. Moreover, they showed that a high degree of homonymity negatively correlates with several indices of academic performance. Although sharing last names does not necessarily imply family affiliation, it can be used as a proxy for nepotistic relations. If anything, the number of cases is going to be largely underestimated, as in Italy women maintain their maiden names, and children take their father’s last name. Thus, using last names one can detect nepotism associated with father-child and inter-sibling relations, but not mother-child cases and those involving spouses. Considering that in the sporadic documented cases the majority of hires involves spouses, and that women constitute about a third of the professors, one can conclude that such an analysis can detect roughly half of the cases of nepotism within the immediate family, not to mention lovers, domestic partners, pupils and more distant relatives….”


previously: inbreeding in italy and all i want for christmas

see also: chalk and cheese @those who can see.

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mamma mia!

“The End of Italy”

“Why should we be surprised Italy is falling apart? With dozens of languages and a hastily made union, it was barely a real country to begin with….

“It took four centuries for the seven kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England to finally become one in the 10th, yet nearly all the territories of the seven states that made up 19th-century Italy were molded together in less than two years, between the summer of 1859 and the spring of 1861. The pope was stripped of most of his dominions, the Bourbon dynasty was exiled from Naples, the dukes of central Italy lost their thrones, and the kings of Piedmont became monarchs of Italy. At the time, the speed of Italian unification was regarded as a kind of miracle, a magnificent example of a patriotic people uniting and rising up to eject foreign oppressors and home-bred tyrants.

“However, the patriotic movement that achieved Italian unification was numerically small — consisting largely of young middle-class men from the north — and would have had no chance of success without foreign help. A French army expelled the Austrians from Lombardy in 1859; a Prussian victory enabled the new Italian state to acquire Venice in 1866.

“In the rest of Italy, the Risorgimento (or Resurgence) wars were not so much struggles of unity and liberation as a succession of civil wars. Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had made his name as a soldier in South America, fought heroically with his red-shirted volunteers in Sicily and Naples in 1860, but their campaigns were in essence a conquest by northern Italians of southern Italians, followed by the imposition of northern laws on the southern state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Yet the southern city of Naples did not feel liberated — only 80 citizens of Italy’s largest city volunteered to fight for Garibaldi — and its people soon became embittered that the city had exchanged its role as the 600-year-old capital of an independent kingdom for the status of a provincial center. Today, its status remains reduced, and southern GDP is barely half what it is in the regions of the north….

“When you ask citizens of, for example, Pisa how they identify themselves, they are likely to answer first as Pisans, then as Tuscans, and only after as Italians or Europeans. As many Italians cheerfully admit, their sense of belonging to the same nation becomes apparent only during the World Cup, when the Azzurri, the members of the national soccer team, are playing well….”

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exogamous marriage in northern medieval italy

in looking for an explanation for why democracy today works better in northern as opposed to southern italy, putnam, et. al., point to the long history of civic behavior in northern italy, stretching back to the middle ages, in contrast to the feudal system of southern italy which lasted really into the 1800s [pg. 130]:

“In the North the crucial social, political, and even religious allegiances and alignments were horizontal, while those in the South were vertical. Collaboration, mutual assistance, civic obligation, and even trust — not universal, of course, but extending further beyond the limits of kinship than anywhere else in Europe in this era — were the distinguishing features in the North. The chief virtue in the South, by contrast, was the imposition of hierarchy and order on latent anarchy.”

in other words, northern italy was full of republican communes, while the south was run from the top down by the monarch.

medieval communes were a type of corporate society, but you can’t have a corporate society if you have clans or tribes or any sort of extended families produced by extensive inbreeding. you need a good deal of outbreeding to get the republican communes that putnam talks about. you need to have a society full of individuals looking out for their own best interests, and those of their immediate family (wife, children), as opposed to a society of extended families or clans or tribes looking out for the interests of their whole group. then, because of the effects of inbreeding on the evolution of social behaviors, you get clan vs. clan, not individuals coming together in guilds to promote their profession or mutal aid societies.

so, what were the mating patterns of northern and southern italians during the medieval period?

i don’t have any info (yet) for southern italy, but samuel kline cohn, jr., in Marriage in the Mountains, 1348-1500 (pg. 174+), finds that the marriage system of the people in the areas surrounding florence was very exogamous in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries — a full three-quarters of the people married outside their parish, and just about half married beyond the pieve, a secular district larger than, and encompassing, the parishes. to me, that sounds potentially more exogamous than nineteenth and twentieth century rural greece in which the people had a preference for marrying within their village or to someone in a neighboring village. it was certainly much more exogamous than marriage patterns in twentieth century sicily and other parts of southern italy.

kline cohn doesn’t examine cousin marriages, but i think it’s safe to say that marriages over greater geographic distances (his “cross-boundary marriages,” for instance) are prolly unlikely to represent any close inbreeding. his data, btw, relates mostly to peasants:

pg. 192:

“The marriage records for the mountains of the early Renaissance in the territory of Florence do not highlight isolated communities, hollows of cultural and biological endogamy. Rather, it was in the plains near the city that one-third of those sampled married within their own parish….

“When the second geographical rung is considered — that of the pieve or the newer secular districts — little difference appears between these three regions. But a glance at a map shows that such intermarriages in the mountains could cover considerably more distance than in the smaller pievi of the plains surrounding the city of Florence….”

so, that’s one example of quite exogamous marriage patterns in northern medieval italy.

previously: democracy in italy

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democracy in italy

been reading robert putnam, et. al.’s “Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy” that i learned about via m.g. miles over @those who can see. (yes, that’s the “Bowling Alone” and E Pluribus Unum putnam. i have to say, the man has certainly done some very interesting research, despite the fact that he sometimes doesn’t like his own findings.)

in “Making Democracy Work,” putnam and his colleagues found that … gee whiz … democracy just works better in northern italy than in southern italy. way better, in fact. i haven’t finished the book yet, but the authors seem to put it down to the histories and political traditions of the two regions — and there is, of course, something to that. but there are even more obvious (at least to me), underlying, biological reasons that i think explain the differences: 1) different populations — broadly speaking, more germanic in the north, more greeks and arabs and others in the south; 2) the old iq differences; and 3) differences in mating patterns which, no doubt, affect social behaviors like trust. these biological aspects of the two(+) populations and their histories are all related — intertwined — next to impossible to tease apart.

i’ll write about putnam’s finding some more when i’ve finished reading the book, but for now, here are some teasers [pgs. 91, 94, 98-99]:

“The Civic Community: Testing The Theory

“Lacking detailed ethnographic accounts of hundreds of communities throughout the regions of Italy, how can we assess the degree to which social and political life in each of those regions approximates the ideal of a civic community? What systematic evidence is there on patterns of social solidarity and civic participation? We shall here present evidence on four indicators of the ‘civic-ness’ of regional life — two that correspond directly to Tocqueville’s broad conception of what we have termed the civic community, and two that refer more immediately to political behavior.

“One key indicator of civic sociability must be the vibrancy of associational life. Fortunately, a census of all associations in Italy, local as well as national, enables us to specify precisely the number of amateur soccer clubs, choral societies, hiking clubs, bird-watching groups, literacy circles, hunters’ associations, Lions Clubs, and the like in each community and region of Italy….

“Leaving aside labor unions for the moment, sports clubs are by far the most common sort of secondary association among Italians, but other types of cultural and leisure activities are also prominent. Standardized for population differences, these data show that in the efflorescence of their associational life, some regions of Italy rival Tocqueville’s America….

“Membership in sports clubs, cultural and recreational groups, community and social action organizations, educational and youth groups, and so on is roughly twice as common in the most civic regions as in the least civic regions….”

the most civic regions being in northern italy, and the least civic ones in the south.

“Although turnout itself in general elections is not a good measure of citizen motivation, one special feature of the Italian ballot does provide important information on regional political practices. All voters in national elections must choose a single party list, and legislative seats are allocated to parties by proportional representation. In addition, however, voters can, if they wish, indicate a preference for a particular candidate from the party list they have chosen. Nationally speaking, only a minority of voters exercise this ‘preference vote,’ but in areas where party labels are largely a cover for patron-client networks, these preference votes are eagerly solicited by contending factions. In such areas, the preference vote becomes essential to the patron-client exchange relationship.

“The incidence of preference voting has long been acknowledged by students of Italian politics as a reliable indicator of personalism, factionalism, and patron-client politics, and we shall shortly present additional confimation of this interpretation. In that sense, preference voting can be taken as an indicator for the absence of a civic community. Regional differences in the use of the preference vote have been highly stable for decades, ranging from 17 percent in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardia [in the north] to 50 percent in Campanis and Calabria [in the south]….

“Regions where citizens use personal preference votes, but do not vote in referenda, do not join civic associations, and do not read newspapers are the same regions whose leaders [when asked by the researchers] describe their regional politics as clientelistic, rather than programmatic.

“Evidence from both citizens and politicians helps us trace the incidence of personalized patronage politics. Citizens in the less civic regions report much more frequent personal contact with their representatives than in the civic north. Moreover, these contacts involve primarily personal matters, rather than broader public issues. In our 1988 survey, 20 percent of voters in the least civic regions acknowledged that they occasionally ‘seek personal help about licenses, jobs, and so on from a politician,’ as contrasted with only 5 percent of the voters in the most civic regions.”

and, the inevitable godfather reference:

previously: democracy and endogamous mating practices and clientelism in greece

update 11/11: see also italian genetics

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northern vs. southern spanish iq, redux

**update 08/03/12: see bottom of post.**

to find out whether or not there are regional differences in iq in spain, the reluctant apostate suggested looking at the pisa scores (which seem to be a good proxy for iq scores) from 2009 for spain, which are broken down regionally here. so i did.

they look like this:

Spain (Castile and Leon) 507
Spain (Catalonia) 499
Spain (Madrid) 499
Spain (Basque Country) 496
Spain (Navarre) 495
Spain (Aragon) 492
Spain (Asturias) 492
Spain (Cantabria) 488
Spain (La Rioja) 488
Spain (Murcia) 484
Spain (Galicia) 483

Spain (Balearic Islands) 461
Spain (Andalusia) 458
Spain (Canary Islands) 444
Spain (Ceuta and Melilla) 403

Spain (Castile and Leon) 514
Spain (Navarre) 511
Spain (Basque Country) 510
Spain (Aragon) 506
Spain (La Rioja) 504
Spain (Catalonia) 496
Spain (Madrid) 496
Spain (Cantabria) 495
Spain (Asturias) 494
Spain (Galicia) 489
Spain (Murcia) 478

Spain (Balearic Islands) 464
Spain (Andalusia) 462
Spain (Canary Islands) 435
Spain (Ceuta and Melilla) 417

Spain (Castile and Leon) 516
Spain (La Rioja) 509
Spain (Navarre) 509
Spain (Madrid) 508
Spain (Galicia) 506
Spain (Aragon) 505
Spain (Asturias) 502
Spain (Cantabria) 500
Spain (Catalonia) 497
Spain (Basque Country) 495
Spain (Murcia) 484

Spain (Andalusia) 469
Spain (Balearic Islands) 461
Spain (Canary Islands) 452
Spain (Ceuta and Melilla) 416

as you can see, the further south — or offshore — you go in spain, the lower the pisa scores. here’s a map of the different regions in spain:

in fact, while the scores of most of the regions become gradually lower by a few points in each instance, the scores of the four lowest regions (andalusia, the balearic islands, the canary island, and ceuta & melilla [which are actually in morocco]) drop off dramatically by anywhere from 14 to 22 points compared to the next highest scoring region (e.g. in reading, the balearic islands score was 461, while the next highest was galicia at 483, a 22 point difference).

v. weiss suggests that a maths pisa score of 463 — the closest to the andalucia score of 462 — is the equivalent of an iq of 93, whereas a pisa score of 514 — the score of the highest scoring region, castile and leon — is the equivalent of an iq of 99.

if he’s correct, that would give the southernmost region of spain an iq like that of greece, while the average iq of people in one of the largest northern regions is more like that of poland or hungary.

so, maybe there is a north vs. south iq division in spain like the one found in italy (although the existence of that one has been disputed).

previously: españa al norte frente al sur

update: see also the reluctant apostate’s awesome maps of italy and spain’s pisa scores, which are awesome (the maps, that is, not necessarily the scores). (~_^)

update 08/03/12: frank is doubtful that there is a north-south divide in pisa scores in spain. the numbers say differently (latitudes grabbed from geohack):

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