Assorted links

by on August 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. A new and not very trustworthy proposal for the funding of science.

2. Latvian restaurant markets in everything (you know this place has too many beautiful women).

3. “Are you ready for the post-college SAT?

4. A new IMF paper on the volatility of capital flows.

5. There is no great stagnation (cuddle mattress).

6. Tim Harford’s new and very good book is now out in the UK.

Dave Barnes August 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm
Dan Weber August 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm

That URL only worked for me after I went through a Google News link.

Michael D. Abramoff August 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Not a chance. As soon as the ‘disparate impact’ studies show up, potential employers will not be allowed to use such post-college testing. See the Supreme Court verdict in Griggs vs Duke-Power outlawing IQ tests for employers.
The primary business model of top colleges is and remains that graduation signals high IQ to potential employers. Don’t expect them to give up this easily.

Andrew' August 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm

What if you had two gates and gave all the blacks a pass on the IQ test and then only tested the whites and Asians for IQ?

Careless August 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm

That wouldn’t be disparate impact, but simple discrimination.

Andrew' August 30, 2013 at 8:11 am

I don’t think so. Why do you think so?

Andrew' August 30, 2013 at 8:15 am

You basically have to hire some fraction (80%?) of the same ratio of blacks who apply as the whites who apply.

Why does that mean you can’t use the smart, pardon the pun, hiring practice for the whites?

White dudes are not a protected class. So, you have to treat them differently otherwise you have a catch-22, have to beg the government for your hiring practices, or you are looking for hiring practices meaningless enough to not have disparate impact.

Careless August 30, 2013 at 10:42 am

It’s not that hard, andrew. Completely different hiring processes based on the race of the applicant doesn’t invoke disparate impact. No 80% rule. Illegal at any number of relative hires

Andrew' August 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm

That’s not discrimination in hiring.

Andrew' August 30, 2013 at 2:24 pm

“Diversity candidates” already get bonus points. Affirmative action is not thus far illegal and is often mandated. Since this essentially compensates for the under-qualified nature of the “protected classes” de facto different hiring practices are required.

And if it is illegal to have a rational hiring practice for whites because it doesn’t hire enough blacks then we should make it legal.

Greg August 30, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I don’t know. Supposedly, employers can’t impose any hiring criteria that would have a disparate impact unless they prove to the court’s satisfaction that the requirement is relevant to the job. That sounds very strict, but it doesn’t seem to be enforced. When I was looking for a post-college job I was asked for my SAT scores several times. I also had to take several unvalidated, in-house aptitude tests. I think you’re fine as long as it superficially relates to the job and you don’t call it an IQ test. For many companies, it’s also pretty routine to administer a drug test, screen out those with criminal records, and do a credit check. All of those things would have a large disparate impact and yet no one is making these companies conduct studies to prove that non-criminals make better employees than ex-cons. I think it’s also important to note that the Griggs case dealt with manual labor type jobs. The court struck down not only the IQ test, but also (and this always gets glossed over) a high school diploma requirement. Because blacks have lower educational attainment, educational requirements violate Griggs unless they relate to the job, with the burden of proof on the employer. This gets violated with impunity. Companies perfunctorily tack on bachelor’s degree requirements for everything nowadays.

Dave Barnes August 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Isn’t the GRE = post-college SAT?

ac August 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Yes, and how is the description any different from…the SAT or an IQ test? Why not just have them take the SAT again?

Ricardo August 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm

5: See also the armadillow.

Dan Weber August 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

That looks much easier to clean. The mattress slats are a giant petri dish you get to sleep on.

ChacoKevy August 29, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Also xkcd — http://xkcd.com/335/

cowen_reader August 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm

The first link seems to be broken

Yogesh August 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm
albert magnus August 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for posting the correct link for #1.

That seems like a terrible idea. I guess aside from the obvious criminality that will develop, its also a good way to make scientists hate each other.

Mark Thorson August 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I think this system would work very well in China.

Alex Godofsky August 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Something is messed up with the #1 link.

MDS August 29, 2013 at 1:38 pm
Alex Nikolov August 29, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Hey! Don’t knock the cuddle matress! Dead arm is a serious issue! Also, I think I can suggest an improvement: http://xkcd.com/335/

Pat August 29, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I hope Bryan Caplan and Robin Hanson chime in about what the post-college SAT signals. Will schools be reluctant to offer it because they fear that it signals something negative about the school itself?

JKB August 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm

You wouldn’t want the schools to offer this testing. To much room for, shall we say, creative testing. Needs to be an independent service. And it should be modularized, with different tests revealing competency in different areas. You’d have various math level tests, engineering tests, physics, composition, perhaps one that shows critical thinking. But who cares what some kid learned in philosophy class? For a job, at least? Or English lit? Not that those aren’t useful to learn but they aren’t something that really tells an employer much about your potential to contribute to his bottom line. Not to mention, those latter modules would have a tough time meeting the job requirement threshold of Gregg.

Students would independently sit for the modules as a way to inform potential employers. In the long run, it would feedback to universities on how useful their programs are.

Claude Emer August 29, 2013 at 7:36 pm

But is that what college is for, a job training program? I could see colleges use the data to improve their education methods but for employers to use it to determine who is a good fit is harder. Do employers want engineers with critical thinking skills and language skills or just math skills? Does it matter fir a law firm that someone understands Chinese culture?

A larger debate is whether the workforce would be better off creating their own training programs and college could go back to its core purpose, or go obsolete.

Pat August 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Also, I wonder if students will be reluctant to volunteer their test scores. For instance, I had an excellent GMAT score but left it off resumes because it would just invite questions about my less impressive GPA.

Andreas Moser August 29, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I really like Latvia, but I still can’t warm to the idea in #2.

dbeach August 29, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Good news! That restaurant has been closed for three years.

another anonymous August 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I’m surprised this hasn’t been linked to: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-28/u-s-bank-legal-bills-exceed-100-billion.html Considering most lawyers bill by the hour and that this isn’t the bill of all parties to the litigation, the sheer man-hours that have gone into the fall-out is mind-boggling.

Careless August 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm

It finally got to the point where Chase went looking for cheaper lawyers.

Claude Emer August 29, 2013 at 5:05 pm

http://www.tlnt.com/2013/08/29/that-new-post-college-sat-just-another-way-to-hire-by-the-numbers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tlnt+(TLNT%3A+The+Business+of+HR)

#1. I’d privately test my kid to make sure he’d have picked up something in college but I wouldn’t recommend an employer use it to hire as tests are hardly predictive or future performance.

In the middle of the recession, we decided to hire a lot of highly educated individuals, some with PhDs because we figured there would be plenty available. Almost all of our hires are gone as it turned out highly educated and qualified for the job were two different things. Companies are better off designing their own assessments calibrated for specific jobs, including ways to check for behaviors and not just cognitive abilities.

A school could also use it as a non binding exit exam just to get an idea of how to change it’s practices.

Cliff August 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Studies show that IQ is one of the very best predictors of job performance

Claude Emer August 30, 2013 at 2:10 am

I’d be interested in reading about those studies. I find it hard to see why a high IQ would make someone better at being a truck driver, UPS delivery man, mechanic, administrative assistant, etc… Likewise, how would IQ correlate with working well within a team, showing up on time to work, ask for help when stuck, and all behaviors that have nothing to do with one’s cognitive abilities but are necessary for success at work?

I googled the issue and found claims on both sides, which would mean that IQ is unrelated to job performance (where I was leaning anyway but I can be persuaded otherwise).

I can see IQ being relevant for jobs that require analytical skills but even then, there has to be accounting for other things the job requires beside skills. A high IQ, poor work ethic person would probably be a drag on an employer’s bottom line.

My thinking, from experience, is that a successful team is one that has a mix of skills and competencies that can eliminate its own blind spots.

JWatts August 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

find it hard to see why a high IQ would make someone better at being a truck driver, UPS delivery man, mechanic, administrative assistant, etc –

I’m guessing you don’t spend much time around truck drivers, mechanics, etc? Believe it or not, not all of them are low IQ proles. And being smarter certainly makes you a better truck driver or mechanic or just about anything.

Claude Emer August 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I don’t think you’ve actually addressed the point I made. If you read the rest of what I wrote you should’ve understood my point
1. You can be smart and a truck driver but why would being smarter make you a better truck driver? How are the skills required to be a better truck driver relate IQ?
2. How does having a high IQ correlate to being smarter? You’re probably not very familiar what intelligence is. IQ relates to analytical abilities but that’s not all that makes intelligence. This is explored in Psychology 101.

Here’s a link that should get you to think about it if you’re interested. Also, there’s plenty of literature around if you ever want to learn more about intelligence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–dv_oqiVos

x August 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm

A سمَـَّوُوُحخ ̷̴̐خ ̷̴̐خ ̷̴̐خ امارتيخ ̷̴̐خ a day keeps the crapple users away!

Marty August 29, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Nothing in the WSJ article provides any evidence that these test scores are better predictors of employment success than GPA. While test scores can test cognitive abilities, they have a difficult time testing non-cognitive skills that matter: diligence, persistence, knowing when to seek assistance, and so forth. At least taking classes proves that a student can complete basic projects.

anon August 30, 2013 at 2:28 am

#1

Most researches would be happy to just get the yearly lump sum from the government even without the part that is distributed according by peers. Hell, I would never leave the academia if I could get a guaranteed yearly grant (if the sum is in the ballpark of 100000$ they are proposing) from the government even if I had to give 50% of it to other scientists and even if no-one ever gave me their 50%.

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