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Donald Trump's Manliness and the Upcoming Recession

Beware of his boasting—if it's accurate, we may all be in trouble.
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Donald Trump responds to a point during a debate in Detroit, Michigan, on March 3, 2016. (Photo: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump responds to a point during a debate in Detroit, Michigan, on March 3, 2016. (Photo: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney asserted Thursday morning that if Donald Trump was somehow elected president, his economic plan would sink the nation into a deep recession.

Thursday evening, Donald Trump essentially bragged about the size of his manhood during the Fox News presidential candidates' debate.

You probably assume these facts are unrelated. But that may not be true.

According to a much-discussed 2011 paper entitled Male Organ and Economic Growth: Does Size Matter?, there is indeed a correlation between a nation's economic performance and the average size of its male genitalia.

As the great humor columnist Dave Barry used to say, we are not making this up.

Looking at a wide array of countries, Tatu Westling of the University of Helsinki found a "U-shaped inverse relationship" between the two statistics.

"The average growth rates from 1960 to 1985 are found to be negatively correlated with penis lengths," he writes, adding that "a centimeter increase in physical dimension is found to reduce GDP growth by 5 to 7 percent."

One pattern he uncovered is particularly alarming: Looking across the globe, he charted "the collapse of GDP after (the average) male organ exceeds the length of 16 centimeters."

That's about 6.3 inches, for those of you who have trouble mixing sexual thoughts and the metric system.

One can certainly argue that this research is absurd. But is it any more absurd than picking a presidential candidate based in part on televised exchanges that amount to schoolyard boasts and taunts?

To be fair, Westling was writing about national averages, not the specific endowments of their leaders. But if any American politician has the ego to embody the "I am the state" mentality of Louis XIV, it's the Donald.

So if Trump gets into office and the economy tanks, don't say you weren't warned.


Findings is a daily column by Pacific Standard staff writer Tom Jacobs, who scours the psychological-research journals to discover new insights into human behavior, ranging from the origins of our political beliefs to the cultivation of creativity.