Data Points

By The Editors / November / December 2002
June 28th, 2007

Moral Minority

A life of crime can pay, according to economics professor Herschel Grossman, as long as the rewards of lying, stealing, or cheating are greater than the risks. But, Grossman writes in the September issue of the Journal of Banking & Finance, moral people also have advantages: ethical behavior will be rewarded if the number of honest people is small compared to the number of dishonest people, because the demand for their honesty will exceed supply. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. "If there are lots of moral people and only a few amoral people," Grossman says, "amoral people have it good because there are a lot of suckers for them to rip off."


Babies with Babies

Healthy babies born to adolescent mothers are up to four times more likely to die before reaching their first birthday than babies born to adult mothers, according to a study by Brown researchers in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. "Because many of these deaths can be prevented," writes lead author Maureen Phipps, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, "developing and evaluating postnatal support services for healthy infants born to adolescent mothers could have a dramatic effect on the postneonatal mortality rate."

Martian Meteorology

Variations in the Earth's orbit have long helped scientists reconstruct the planet's climate over eons. Now a Brown researcher and two French colleagues write in the September 26 issue of Nature that orbital climate-change theory can help model past weather on Mars and explain the formation of deposits on the Red Planet's polar caps. "Showing that a planet with Mars's strange orbit has climate changes recorded in its surface means we have a tool to explore what happens on the surface of planets with differences and similarities to Earth," says study author John Mustard, associate professor of geological sciences.

Violence at Home

Teenage girls who witness violence between their parents, even if they are not victims of abuse themselves, are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior than teenagers from peaceful homes, a group of Brown sociologists reports in the October Journal of Violence and Victims. "Parents who say, ÔWe don't hit our kids but we smack each other around,' still harm their kids," says Associate Professor of Sociology Gregory Elliott, who headed the study.

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November / December 2002