Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Are Women Less Corrupt Than Men?

Sep 30, 2013
Originally published on September 30, 2013 1:04 pm

In an effort to reduce corruption among traffic cops in Mexico City, officials are replacing the predominantly male force with women.

The strategy was first attempted in Mexico back in 1999, with the reasoning that women were more likely to be perceived as trustworthy and, perhaps, to be more honest as well. As Alejandro Gertz Manero, the police chief in 1999, explained in The New York Times:

We are trying to regain the confidence of the people. And I think it will be easier for women to get closer to the people. In Mexico we see women as more gentle, more polite.

The logic in 2013 isn't so different: An NPR story that aired this weekend reports Mexican authorities as saying that women are more trustworthy and less corrupt than men.

But is this really the case?

The question isn't a new one. But a new study by Justin Esarey and Gina Chirillo, summarized in a Rice University news report and forthcoming in the journal Politics and Gender, provides some fresh perspectives.

Using data from the World Values Survey, the Quality of Government Dataset and the World Bank's Governance Indicators dataset, among others, the researchers arrive at a plausible conclusion: It depends. Specifically, it depends on the institutional context. That is, it depends on the type of government in place and on whether corruption is socially accepted.

In the journal article, Esaray and Chirillo summarize their findings like this:

We find strong evidence that a gender gap in corruption attitudes and behaviors is present in democracies, but weaker or non-existent in autocracies.

For more democratic countries, the researchers' analyses found that women were less likely than men to report that accepting a bribe is justifiable. In more autocratic countries, however, the relationship between gender and attitudes to bribery was much weaker.

A subsequent analysis found a similar pattern when it came to the relationship between women in government and perceptions of government corruption. In more democratic countries, having a larger proportion of women participating in government was associated with lower ratings for corruption. In more autocratic countries, there was no such relationship.

The authors of the study consider several possible explanations for these results, but ultimately argue for the following:

Women are more powerfully subject to social norms because systematic discrimination against them makes their position more tenuous. Insomuch that sex discrimination means holding women to a different (higher) standard than men for the same reward, it is riskier for them to flout the formal and informal rules of political culture because transgressions are more likely to invite retaliation. Thus, if a political culture discourages corruption, women will avoid corrupt activities more and profess greater aversion to it (compared to men) because they anticipate suffering more severe consequences than their male counterparts.

One upshot of this explanation is that putting more women in positions of power won't necessarily curtail corruption. As the authors suggest:

Recruiting women into government positions will not reduce corruption wherever participation in corrupt activities aids in selection for and retention in government office (as in many autocratic regimes). Female participation in government would only reduce corruption in functional democracies where the electorate tends to punish corruption via removal from office.

What does this mean for Mexico, a democracy where corruption is denounced but widespread? Will the effort be successful?

In the NPR report, Police Chief Carlos Ortega Carpinteyro explained one of his biggest challenges so far: recruiting women to the new traffic force.

We get too many short and fat ones. We need tall women that render respect when out in the streets.

An unfortunate reason, then, to think the effort might work: Women are clearly being held to different standards than men.


You can keep up with more of what Tania Lombrozo is thinking on Twitter: @TaniaLombrozo

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.