accounting for emil’s outlier?

emil kirkegaard published an interesting paper recently — well, actually, he’s published a whole slew of interesting papers recently! — but i want to look at something in this one that he coauthored with john fuerst: Educational attainment, income, use of social benefits, crime rate and the general socioeconomic factor among 71 immigrant groups in Denmark.

it’s this chart right here which appears on page 10:

emil's outlier

the curious point on this chart is the flying outlier of lebanon. oftentimes exceptions prove the rule, but occasionally they’re indicators that something might be up. why do lebanese immigrants in denmark (many of whom, i take it from googling around, are actually palestinian refugees) do soooo poorly socio-economically when they don’t score so high on the islamic scale (presumably because about one-third of them are christians, if the joshua project is to be believed)?

emil is skeptical of the inbreeding-can-lead-to-social-and-economic-dysfunction theory, and that’s ok! skepticism is a good thing. but i think that he and john should take it into consideration in this instance. a study from the 1980s found that 16.5% of lebanese christians were in consanguineous marriages (and nearly 30% of lebanese muslims were). sixteen and a half percent is in the neighborhood of the cousin marriage rates in south-central italy, another population not especially known for its great ses achievements, so it’s maybe not surprising to find that the lebanese in denmark are socio-economically quite dysfunctional even though a large portion of them aren’t muslims. we see this pattern over and over again across the world: too much inbreeding (eg. cousin marriage) especially over time in a population and you wind up with social and economic dysfunction, corruption, rampant nepotism, etc., etc.

while it is true that all of the pops in the upper right-hand corner of the chart are majority muslims pops, what they also have in common is a long history of cousin marriage including very close (father’s brother’s daughter/fbd) cousin marriage. the lebanese — including lebanese christians — also fall into this group (although lebanese christians don’t marry their fbds much).

in fact, if you were to draw a horizontal line at .0 across the chart there, no long-term outbreeding population would fall above it. they all actually cluster in the lower left-hand corner of the chart (in other words, the most successful ses-wise): usa, canada, belgium, germany, finland, etc. and as you move upwards on the chart (i.e. away from ses success), you increasingly encounter pops that having been inbreeding for longer: russia, greece, india, china, bosnia, macedonia.

islam might correlate with poor ses in immigrant groups in denmark (and elsewhere), but i suspect that the extent of their history of inbreeding is a more direct cause of the dysfunctionality of these groups.

what the world needs is a good index of inbrededness (rates+history). am workin’ on it! (^_^)

btw, if you’re not regularly checking out the openpsych journals, you should be! “open access, free to publish, open peer review.” good stuff! (dunno why i don’t have them in my blogroll yet. need to do some updating to the ol’ blog here!)

previously: inbreeding amongst christian arabs

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clans in the news: the lebanon

with all the excitement going on in the arab/muslim world, you may have missed in the news some clannish hostilities going on in the lebanon over the last few weeks. i present to you, the meqdad clan:

for some reason that i didn’t bother trying to figure out (prolly some argument going back to the days of fakhr-al-din ii), one of the meqdad clan was kidnapped by somebody (some clan, no doubt) in syria. in response, the meqdads of the lebanon have been kidnapping all sorts of syrians and turks in their country:

“In Lebanon, kidnapping by clans raise alarm”

“The logic of the Lebanese Meqdad clan was simple: One of the group’s fellow clansmen had been captured in Syria, and they were going to kidnap as many people as it took to barter for his freedom.

“The detained clansman, Hassan Meqdad, was bloodied and bruised when he appeared in a video released by Syrian rebels on Aug. 13. Meqdad gunmen hit the streets two days later and grabbed at least 40 Syrian hostages, along with a Turkish businessman shortly after he landed at the Beirut airport….”
_____

i don’t want to bore you with the details of whatever the h*ll is going on here. but some of the comments made by meqdad clansmen and other lebanese/arab individuals about the case are really enlightening. THEY all understand what’s going on here of course (clan/tribal warfare), so it’s nice to hear from these people “in the know” on how clannish societies work.

here are some of those telling comments:

– “According to Allaw, what needs to be understood is that the bond between clan members is very different from the sectarian bond found within certain political parties, ‘which is why there are different sects within the clans … When groups like Hezbollah and Amal tried to enter these areas in the 1980s with sectarian ideals, they were rejected.'” [al jazeera]

– “‘Clan solidarity is primordial,’ says the senior source, formerly in charge of security in the Baalbek region. ‘Regardless of disagreements the clan always comes first.'” [the daily star]

– “‘It’s just a rampant culture of impunity — the state seeing itself as one actor among many rather than the enforcer of laws,’ said Nadim Houry, the deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch.” [wsj]

– “Lebanon’s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks published Wednesday that he refused to treat the Lebanese Moqdad clan ‘cruelly,’ due to its abduction operations in the country. During an interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper, Charbel voiced his hope that the relevant groups would ‘understand the [clan’s] situation, [because] if any of [our relatives were] kidnapped, we might have felt the same way [the Moqdads] did.‘” [now lebanon]

– “As-Safir journalist Saada Allaw – of the Allaw family – said the clans ‘don’t count their family members in the conventional way‘. ‘They say, for example, we are 15,000 rifles, which indicates how many people are willing and able to carry weapons.'” [al jazeera]

– “‘Why do my people have to carry weapons? [maher mokdad] asked. ‘We have no government. We live in the jungle, and we have to survive. If the government cared for me, then I wouldn’t have to protect myself.‘” [wsj]

– “In the Hezbollah-dominated Roueiss suburb, neighbors speak of the ‘courage and loyalty’ of the Meqdad clan. ‘If anyone is in need, they will help them and they are always present in difficult times or to pay condolences,’ says Abu Ahmad, the owner of a snack shop in the area.” [the daily star]

– “‘If there’s a happy ending for Hassan [Meqdad], there will be a happy ending for them,’ Mokdad said. ‘If there is a bad ending for Hassan, there will be a bad ending for them. All of them.’ [wsj]

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cousin marriage and increasing population size

several researchers have suggested that cousin marriage rates increase as population size (or survivability) increases (see the articles i linked to at the bottom of this post, for instance). here is alan bittles (the guy who runs consang.net) on the matter [pg. 3]:

“[T]he recorded numbers of consanguineous unions appear to have grown at least in step with increasing national and regional populations, and in some economically less developed countries the proportion of marriages contracted between close biological kin has expanded. The simplest explanation for this observation is that as greater numbers of children survive to marriageable age, the traditional social preference for consanguineous unions can be more readily accommodated.”

hmm. maybe. but i don’t think this is the whole answer to the question. lookie here — according to jurdi and saxena, here’s how the consanguinity rates in some middle eastern countries have changed (or not) over the past decades (all of their references were published in the 1990s, so we’re talking about changes before and up to that point in time):

increasing
yemen
uae (pub. 1997)

stable
jordan (between 1900-1964)
oman (pub. 1996)

declining
bahrain (pub. 1996)
lebanon (pub. 1998)
kuwait (pub. 1996)
syria (pub. 1995)

but look at the population growth rates for these countries (all charts taken from wikipedia. not included are uae and kuwait — no charts available from wikipedia, but those populations have also increased. maybe i’ll whip up some cupcakes charts one of these day. the population data is sourced from the fao. yeah, i know — the scales are all different.):

countries with increasing rates of cousin marriage

yemen:

countries with stable rates of cousin marriage

jordan (between 1900-1964):

oman:

countries with declining rates of cousin marriage

bahrain:

lebanon:

syria:

i dunno. call me crazy, but i see increasing populations in all these countries from the 1950s/1960s onwards — except for lebanon which flatlined during the 1970s/1980s. (and doesn’t that mean there was prolly increased survivability in all these countries, or am i missing something here?)

so, i’m thinkin’ there must be something more to increased rates of cousin marriage than simply increasing population size. what that something is, i’m not sure. but inquiring minds want to know!

previously: inbreeding amongst christian arabs

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inbreeding amongst christian arabs

ihtg wonders how much christian arabs inbreed. ask and ye shall receive!

in a study published in 1984, a survey of the rural arab population in western galilee in israel found a 39% rate of consanguineous marriage (that included 1C and 2C). specifically, druze = 49%; muslim arabs = 40%; and christian arabs = 29%. the most common cousin marriage form was first cousin, fbd marriage.

the rates weren’t very different in 1990-92 (this was a “whole israel” study): druze = 47%; muslim arabs = 42%; and christian arabs = 22%. (recall, the rates in southern italy in the early ’60s are comparable to these druze and muslim arab rates! but cross-cousin marriage was/is more common there, i.e. not fbd marriage.)

and while they’re not exactly arabs, the lebanese are in the neighborhood — here from a study done in beirut in 1983-84:

so, the rate of cousin-marriage amongst lebanese christians was 16.5% while the rate for muslims approached double that at 29.6%.

christians married cousins more distant than first cousins at a slightly higher rate than they did first cousins: 8.6% (>1C) versus 7.9% (1C). muslims, on the other hand, favored first cousin marriage: 17.3% (1C) versus 12.3% (>1C). this is a similar pattern found elsewhere in the middle east/arab world. in egypt, for instance, copts tend to marry second cousins while muslims tend to marry first cousins (no, i can’t find the reference!).

there was also more fbd marriage amongst muslims (6.4%) versus christians (3%).

btw, a study published in 2009 found an overall consanguinity rate for beirut and other areas of lebanon to be 35.5%, so cousin marriage is obviously not going away in lebanon.

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lebania

virtual tribalism!:

“Online game mirrors Lebanese political scene”

“A new online game designed to mirror the Lebanese political scene allows players to join different tribes and parties modeled after the country’s own affiliations and pit themselves against one another in a bid to achieve social domination.

Lebania, which went fully live Wednesday morning after a two-week trial period, is the brainchild of a Lebanese software developer, who is keeping his or her identity under wraps at this stage because of the divisive nature of the game….

“Players of the game, which can be found at http://www.lebania.com, choose one of four tribes – Trinity, Quraysh, Yerevan or Tawhid – intended to represent Christians, Muslims, Armenians and Druze. To play the game, players must attempt to take over neighboring villages with their own resources. They also have the option to form strategic alliances with other players. [just like real life! – hbd chick]

“Reading the description of the tribes, it’s clear where the impression that the game is controversial comes from.

“The Trinity (as in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) tribe is described as having comparatively ‘high levels of social and technological development,’ while the Quraysh (the name of the dominant tribe at the time of the emergence of Islam) are characterized as ‘the plundering hordes roaming the lands’….”

oops.

see Lebanese people

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