Assorted links

by on September 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Are left-handed people smarter?

2. “Where was China?

3. Ricardo Hausmann disaggregates emerging market ngdp.

4. The civil service culture that is Singapore.  The Civil Service College was my host in Singapore, and I am a big fan of what they are doing.

5. What happened to the words we added to the dictionary in the 1990s? (“Publify!”)

Lefty September 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

The answer to 1. is “Yes”.

Willitts September 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I’m perfectly willing to accept the thesis that left-handed people are “smarter” in the ways we measure smartness. I also accept that they might be more creative. The combination of intelligence and creativity would give them an advantage in most endeavors, including crime. This doesn’t mean they have an affinity toward criminal behavior but rather a lower opportunity cost. Their creativity may go hand in hand with social groups that tend to be more liberal and/or homosexual.

I’m inclined to accept brain-related explanations for a lot of human traits. One caveat – there may be strong survivorship bias in the observed data; we only see the strongest left handed people who triumph in a right dominated world.

I’d love to see statistics on handedness among other alleged “elite” groups, such as Jews, who are disproportionately represented at the top of certain professional hierarchies.

Mark Thorson September 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

It is my understanding that the average IQ of left-handers is lower than right-handers, but that might be because lefthandedness is sometimes the result of brain damage, so those guys are lowering our average.

I think any disruption of the normal model of the brain-mind may be associated with high creativity because these people will be viewing and interpreting the world in way somewhat different from the norm. Sort of like how people with certain forms of color blindness are unusually adept at seeing through military camoflage.

Alexei Sadeski September 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

#2: Excellent…

Brian Donohue September 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

Really? I thought it was pretty uneven. Nothing magic about 1870 either. DeLong even refers to Adam Smith ruminating on China’s lowliness compared to its august past.

I have no doubt there are many lessons to be learned from the Chinese experience between 1400 and 1800- I think DeLong misses the boat with his fixation on the 19th century.

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