Sleeping the sleep of the righteous

This is a disturbing example of two academics apparently not understanding the age old lesson that correlation does not necessarily equate to causation; the more gender equality in a country, the better night’s sleep everyone gets.

Let’s have a look at the study shall we? Actually, we can’t because it’s a paid article and we’re cheap.

However, here’s some questions that we may or may not be able to answer;

What was the sample size? About 615 couple per country, across 23 countries.

France has a population of 66.9m so that’s around 0.0009% of the population that was tested.

How was sleep duration and quality measured? This was determined by the responses to the questions posed in the European Social Survey, the name of which alone should be ringing loud alarms bells in any mind capable of critical thought. People were asked about their sleep quality – they didn’t undertake any objective testing such as a sleep study.

How are countries ranked by gender equality? Without paying for the report and reading their methodology, we can’t say, obviously. However, there’s a few ready-made league tables produced already and detailed here. Given the laziness demonstrated by the “academics” by drawing conclusions from a questionnaire not written specifically for the purpose of their study’s subject, it’s probably safe to assume they didn’t go and do their own research to perform the order ranking of countries and used one of those.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s a sorry indictment as to the state of academic rigor that conclusions are offered linking sleep quality by country after putting the results of a subjectively-answered survey of a miniscule of a percent of the population into Excel, adding a nominal order ranking of countries by some manufactured “gender equality” metric, clicking “Insert Pivot Table” and then writing an academic paper and several newspaper articles on the result.

Here’s an idea that will greatly improve the quality of sleep of taxpayers all over Europe; defund the humanities in universities and shut down the ESS. After all “All participating countries are required to contribute to the central coordination costs of the ESS ERIC.“, (emphasis mine), which is, frankly, just another example of people being charged a fee to be told how awful they are.

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