Research Fellow at Open Philanthropy.

Previously at the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research.

Topic Contributions


New forum feature: preview & embed Our World in Data charts

drafting a post which uses this feature, and I'm a bit disappointed in terms of how much smaller the map is compared to using the downloaded figure from the OWiD. I think it would be better if the map were took up more of the available width. 

My experience with imposter syndrome — and how to (partly) overcome it

thank you for writing this! your personal experiences were extremely relatable. I laughed at "Remind yourself that it’s someone else’s job to figure out whether you’re meeting their standards as an employee, so you don’t need to constantly feel angst about whether you should quit to save them the trouble of firing you." (I will not type up the counter-argument my brain is attempting to come up with)
one of the ways in which ~imposter syndrome has made me worse at accomplishing things is that it has made me worse at asking questions when I was confused, because I was afraid that the questions I would ask would give me away as an imposter. this isn't all downsides: it probably resulted in me being better at working through confusions that I have, but also cost me a lot of time. I personally found reading helpful for that specific facet. 

Retrospective on Shall the Religious Inherit The Earth

you're right that St. Mary's has an exceptionally high birth rates, but they are both very small (pop ~2600) and as of recently not growing (2015: 2664 -> 2020: 2652).   (Kansas Department of Health) which makes me suspect that they're experiencing some retention issues. 

more broadly,  this article suggests that while there's a fairly large number of attendees (~150,000) of Latin Mass in the United States,  I expect that the Pope's recent restrictions on Latin Masses discussed in that article will hurt their popularity + growth. 

New forum feature: preview & embed Our World in Data charts

Love this feature! Very excited to use this in my next post.

Retrospective on Shall the Religious Inherit The Earth

Oh, good idea. Reverse image searching resulted in me finding the same version claiming that it's 2007 data. So that's maybe partially reflecting differences in how people responded to the financial crisis in particular? 

Decided to find some TFR data from Eurostat and recreate this map for some more recent years. The France-Germany gap has been decreasing in visual saliency: 2014 is still pretty visible but but 2019 is less so (though there is still some  aggregate TFR difference  between France and Germany). Data doesn't go far enough back for me to be able to check the original map but it doesn't seem particularly implausible. 

2014 TFR - Eurostat
2019 TFR - Eurostat
Retrospective on Shall the Religious Inherit The Earth

I think your comment does a really good job of illustrating the difficulty in determining which groups and circumstances are selecting on what traits, as the two examples of unusually strong selection on fertility that you bring up are the Amish and the French, which have been on opposite ends of fertility behavior. It's not impossible that both of these groups are selecting more strongly on fertility  than everyone else, but it is somewhat counterintuitive. 

I agree that the Amish are selecting on something, but that something isn't necessarily a preference to have more children. The paper you linked also lists "affinity for work, perseverance, low status competition, respect for authority, conscientiousness, and community orientation" as other characteristics that may be being selected for among the Amish.  If the Amish are being selected for ~conformity and community orientation rather than desire to have more kids irrespective of circumstances, then if the circumstances change at the community level (for example, if it becomes more difficult to purchase farmland, as is already happening to the community in Lancaster County, or if the Amish stop being exempt from the requirement that children need to stay in school until they are 16, which some people are pushing for) then the Amish fertility rate could decline further than it already has.

The French case seems somewhat more compelling: because of contraception and norms around family sizes, the people who had larger families in France would be people who intrinsically valued larger families, and so selection would in the direction of higher fertility preferences more directly, rather than high fertility being a result of conforming to local norms. That being said, two centuries of selection in the direction of people who want kids more than average hasn't been enough to bring French fertility above replacement, merely to above average for Europe. 

Do you know which year the map from Breeder's Revenge that you linked is for? I don't see a year on it, but it shows more départements at above replacement than the paper that I've found on Recent Demographic Developments in France, which has a map for 2015. Note that the country-wide TFR of 1.96 shown below has declined a bit since then, reaching 1.86 by 2019, and 1.83 in 2020 and that non-immigrant TFR is even further below replacement. While I think it's plausible that TFR in France will start going up again in the near future, it's also quite plausible that it won't.

TFR by Departement, 2015


Retrospective on Shall the Religious Inherit The Earth

Thanks for the feedback! "Prioritization of religious law" and "opinion on halakha" fall under the set of things that that I was trying to point at with the  phrase "role of religion in public life". 

The relationship between those questions and religiosity is clear and monotonic, while on other issues the relationship is more complicated. The Haredi have views that are approximately the same as the Masorti in terms of Arab expulsion and political identification, and are less right-wing than the Dati. Though there's still some division by religiosity in terms of identification with the left / center / right, it's much less intense than, for example, the difference in views on transportation on Shabbat.  

I rephrased the sentence to "While there is an extremely strong relationship between religiosity and views on the role of religion in public life, opinions on other political issues are less starkly divided by religiosity, though there are still some divisions." and added in this graph of political identification to make that clearer.