Performing #1 and #2 in comfort and style since 1995
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Up or Down? A Male Economist’s Manifesto on the Toilet Seat Etiquette

We talk about seat position a lot here at the ICBE. As we say on our dedicated page on the matter, proper etiquette dictates that the seat be left down, with a couple exceptions. Here’s an important passage from that page that bears repeating:

…this isn’t about logic, or statistics, or minimizing global effort or anything other than etiquette and doing what’s right.

So when reader Michael D. emailed me a link to a statistical analysis of toilet seat positions and efficiency, I wasn’t that impressed. From the paper, by Jay Pil Choi:

I find that the “down rule” is inefficient unless there is a large degree of asymmetry in the inconvenience costs of shifting the position of the toilet seat across genders. I show that the “selfish” or the “status quo” rule that leaves the toilet seat in the position used dominates the down rule in a wide range of parameter spaces including the case where the inconvenience costs are the same.

Let me repeat: This isn’t about efficiency. This is about etiquette!

1 comment

1 Leonardo { 03.25.11 at 4:16 am }

True etiquette dictates gender equality as well as aesthetic quality. Leaving the seat down with the lid open is blatant gender bias. It is also poor feng shui. The only right, fair thing in this matter gender-wise, as well as aesthetically and sanitation-wise, is for everyone to CLOSE THE LID.

Leave a Comment