I asked a friend of mine a few months ago how I would know when I had crossed the line with my economic analysis of sex and love to which she responded “Oh, honey...you crossed that line a long time ago.” Maybe she was right. But if she wasn’t, today is probably the day. Today we ask the question: Does penis length contribute to economic growth?

First of all, did you know there was a global penile length distribution map? I certainly didn’t, nor did I realize the enormous variation in average, erect penis size between nations. The Koreas, both South and North, have the dubious pleasure of having the smallest penis size in the world with an average length of 3.8 inches (9.66 cms). On the other end of the spectrum, the average penis size in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is 7.1 inches (17.6 cms). [One note here before anyone starts checking out flights to Kinshasa--the guys in the Congo are self-reporting their penis size so there could be a significant level of mismeasurement there]

Economists love it when there are big variations between countries in pretty much anything that can be measured. So you can hardly blame the doctoral student at the University of Helsinki who, upon discovering the global penile length data, started looking around for a model to stick it into. He chose a common variation on the Solow model of economic growth and finds that penis size can explain 15% of the global variation in national incomes.*

It appears that there is an inverted U-shaped relationship between penis length and economic growth: slow growing countries (i.e. less developed today) have on average both the smallest and the largest penis sizes while fast growing countries are centered in the penis length distribution. The results are driven largely by the fact that the two poorest regions of the world, Asia and Africa, dominate the tails of the distribution of penis size.

The author determines that the size of men’s penises has the same magnitude of influence on economic growth as a country’s political regime and makes the following assessment of the welfare effects:

To illustrate the significance, if France with its average size of 16.1 centimetres [6.3 inches] had male organs on par with United Kingdom's 13.9 centimetres [5.5 inches], French GDP would have ceteris paribus expanded by around 15% more between 1960 and 1985 – a significant welfare effect by any standards.

You know, I have to say that I doubt the French would agree that a reduction in average penis size is welfare improvement by any standard.

What does this tell us about economic growth? Well it tells what we already know; you can stick pretty much anything into the Solow model and get a decent result regardless of whether or not the factor contributes to economic growth in any way, shape or form. 

Finally proving, for once and for all, that it isn’t size that matters...it’s how you use it.

 * Westling, Tatu (July 2011). “Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?” Helsinki Center of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 335.

 

Big thanks to my friend Char Weise for sending me this article.