The economic gains from a better allocation of talent

by on November 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm in Economics, History | Permalink

Michael Clemens directs our attention to a February 2013 paper by Chang-Tai Hsieh, Erik Hurst, Charles I. Jones, and Peter J. Klenow, here is the abstract:

In 1960, 94 percent of doctors and lawyers were white men. By 2008, the fraction was just 62 percent. Similar changes in other highly-skilled occupations have occurred throughout the U.S. economy during the last fifty years. Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups, the occupational  distribution in 1960 suggests that a substantial pool of innately talented black men, black women, and white women were not pursuing their comparative advantage. This paper measures the macroeconomic consequences of the remarkable convergence in the occupational distribution between 1960 and 2008 through the prism of a Roy model. We find that 15 to 20 percent of growth in aggregate output per worker over this period may be explained by the improved allocation of talent.
The pdf is hereAddendum: I am informed Alex mention this piece in an earlier post.

1 Athrelon November 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

And yet GDP did not double above trend (even if you allow a decade or more for job skilling and business model adaptation) when women began to enter the workforce in large numbers.

2 Athrelon November 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

As a preliminary explanation, it’s worth noting how remarkably good patriarchy was at preserving the right tail of extremely talented women. As many Nobel prizes were awarded to women in physics, chemistry, and economics in the first half of the 20th century as the second. As TC might put it, Victorians were already picking most of the low hanging fruit, and mass entry into careers didn’t yield as high returns as promised.

Mass entry to the workforce appears driven by a narrative of “careers, rather than families, are the main arena of status-seeking,” and this is a separate thing from very talented individuals being able to make major contributions.

3 david November 27, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Why would GDP growth double? The main driver here was the technological substitution of household labour, not status-seeking – piped water rather than carried water, washing machines rather than hand washing, mass-produced bread rather than home baking, etc.

4 msgkings November 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

One interesting theory on the decline of educational quality relates to this. Before the 1960s smart, capable women who wanted to work outside the home could only really choose from nursing and teaching and secretarial work. So many women that today are lawyers and doctors, etc would have been teaching kids in school back then. So perhaps teacher quality is down today because of the lesser quality female teachers?

5 James Hare November 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Where is your proof that teaching quality is down?

6 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 11:53 am

Ummmm…so, I’m wrong on that and it’s up? Or the same?

7 prognostication November 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

You made a claim with no evidence, and are being challenged on it. Is it up, down, or the same? You don’t know, but are claiming it is down as the basis for your point.

8 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Fair enough. That’s been my understanding with all the gnashing of teeth about education in this country. But maybe it’s the same or better, in which case my point doesn’t make sense.

9 dead serious November 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

In which case it’s similar to most of your posts, since you bend yourself into verbal pretzels in an attempt to convince yourself and others that you are “centrist.”

10 msgkings November 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Hmmm. Well, let’s cut through the pretzel twists, can you please let me know what I am since I’m not a ‘centrist’?

Also, I’ve noticed no one is saying anything about my assumption. Do you folks truly disagree that teaching quality has declined, or are you just having fun bashing me? I thought that claim was almost self-evident but I’m open to being convinced otherwise. Oooh look I’m pretzel twisting again!

11 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 6:02 pm

It would be interesting to see where the end of disparate treatment led to new ways of doing things in a particular field of employment. Diversity is constantly being lauded for introducing new ideas, but the evidence seems patchier than the consensus would lead you to think.

The NBA would be an obvious example: Desegregating in 1950 set the gears in motion for today’s above the rim game, a radical change in the way the game is played.

In baseball, desegregating in the National League in 1947 made basestealing fashionable once again due to the arrival of faster black players. But, base stealing proved to be fairly minor.

It’s oddly hard to see how style of play in the NFL was changed by desegregating. Today’s mostly black NFL is much better, but it’s not clear how play is different. On the other hand, after the whistle is blown, the chest-pounding celebrations of practically every tackle are a major cultural difference from the stoic sporting manner that was considered appropriate.

12 dead serious November 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

If your default analogue to all professions is the sports world, I would suggest you’re either being disingenuous or you can’t make your point in any meaningful way.

13 msgkings November 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

+1

14 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Mass entry of women into the workforce restrained increases in wages, which helped drive up returns to capital and increase inequality of wealth.

15 isomorphismes November 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm

An interesting observation if true. But maybe what that’s really telling us is that at present we’re under-gathering the “fruit” of Nobel-quality women, not that the early 20th century was gathering their fruit at an acceptably high rate.

16 ummm November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

the economic contribution of women in the workforce is much overstated

passive consumption & capital drives our economy with labor playing an increasingly small role

17 Doug November 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups.”

Without judging the veracity of this assumption, the paper’s begging the question. “Give that an underrepresentation of minority doctors is inefficient, we find that an underrepresentation of minority doctors is inefficient”

18 dearieme November 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups”: ah, American exceptionalism.

19 jqhart November 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Given that you’re a racist if you deny the assumption, it logically follows that the conclusion is the truth. At least, that’s what my professor taught me.

20 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups”

Actually, the authors could have conducted their analysis without this assumption and gotten a result pointing in the same direction. The logic that restricting applicants lessens overall average talent works under realistic conditions as well. Ample data is available regarding scores on the LSAT and MCAT by race. I’ve summarized much of it here:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/graduate-school-admissions-race-and-the-white-status-game

African-Americans typically score at what would be about the 12th percentile of the white distribution of scores on both the LSAT and MCAT, while doing relatively better on the GRE and DAT (for dentists). So, there’s no need for an assumption when the facts are at hand.

21 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 5:06 pm

One historical oddity that would complicate a realistic analysis of changes in African-American representation among doctors, dentists, and lawyers is that the Jim Crow caste system caused blacks to supply themselves with a fair percentage of those professionals that their communities needed. For example, Miles Davis’s father was a prosperous dentist serving a black clientele in the St. Louis area. The elder Davis was one of three blacks in his class at Northwestern dental school in about 1915. So, the base of black doctors and lawyers before a half century ago was not as infinitesimal as we might think.

I suspect one area where you’d see black percentages increase substantially from, say, 1950 – 1980 would be in areas like being a salesman or middle manager for a Fortune 500 firm. Paradoxically, successful major corporations tended to be rare in the Jim Crow South, so this rarity of blacks in run of the mill corporate jobs would reflect the generalized discrimination against blacks across America in that era.

22 prior_approval November 28, 2013 at 12:11 am

‘successful major corporations tended to be rare in the Jim Crow South’

But a significant number of their customers were. And as recognized by a large number of people in positions of power, both political and economic during that era, that group of racists had to be pandered to. Otherwise, some of them they would origanize boycotts, burn books and records and crosses, blow up churches, murder, etc.

It wasn’t a secret. Back then, such people were proud to ensure that racism was the law of their land, and willing to stand up in public to keep things that way. Unlike today, where racists have to slink around, worried that others will have a bad opinion of them, mocking them. Something has gone wrong in America since those fine days of segregation, and it would be an interesting exercise for racists to have the courage to stand up, and proudly proclaim that it was the failure of racists to keep America pure that has led to America’s decline.

After all, Virginia had laws when I was born to prevent someone like Obama from ever being born at all. Racists should simply have the courage of the racists before them, and demand the re-institution of American miscegenation laws. For the common good, of course. Just like George Wallace stood up, and accepted that racism was the path to power – ‘When a supporter asked why he started using racist messages, Wallace replied, “You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”‘ Of course, Wallace wasn’t scorned back in that golden age – he was elected governor.

23 The Anti-Gnostic November 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

After all, Virginia had laws when I was born to prevent someone like Obama from ever being born at all.

That’s one of your sillier, more histrionic statements.

24 Michael November 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Good call–this looks like publication-bait if there’s such a thing. If I were an ambitious assistant professor looking to get something published fast for tenure review, I’d jump on the chance to do this kind of tautological study that appeals to the political tastes of the time. It’s quite brilliant–wish I’d thought of it before I left academia.

25 KLO November 27, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Why premise the conclusion on the notion that there are no differences in innate ability among different groups. Women remain heavily underrepresented in the ranks of professional basketball, football and baseball coaches/managers to say nothing of the sports thesmesleves. Should we conclude from this that the sports we watch are greatly inferior to those of a more egalitarian world?

26 Z November 27, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Question: Why premise the conclusion on the notion that there are no differences in innate ability among different groups?

Answer: The authors don’t wish to get fired for deviationism.

27 dearieme November 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

They’ve taken quite enough of a risk by referring to “innate talent”.

28 RPLong November 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

In what ways would the study change under the assumption that white males are better in highly skilled jobs than other groups? It seems to me that starting from that premise, the researchers’ conclusions are even stronger than they would otherwise be. Was that your point?

29 TMC November 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

““We find that 15 to 20 percent of growth in aggregate output per worker over this period may be explained by the improved allocation of talent.” If white male were better at highly skilled jobs then there has been no improved allocation of talent. makes the arguement weaker, not stronger.

30 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

It would be interesting to look at interaction effects.

For example, Atlanta business leaders were largely happy to get Jim Crow behind them, seeing this old caste system as a huge drag on the business potential of the South. The economic losses from Jim Crow, in their view, weren’t just the lost contributions of blacks, but the diminished contributions of whites in an anti-commercial culture that prioritized the color of your skin over the color of your money.

31 Z November 28, 2013 at 8:43 am

Flushing this sort of stuff down the memory hole is important to the CML. Ditto Southern discontent with slavery. The CML needs unadulterated bogeymen to rally the faithful, but they also need to cover their tracks a bit. An organized retreat from slavery or Jim Crow would have spared a lot of innocent lives, but these people are always in too much of a hurry to worry about innocent lives.

32 RPLong November 27, 2013 at 7:15 pm

TMC:

Whites’ total proportion of the population decreases. Output per worker increases, controlling for other relevant variables.

Scenario 1: Whites are superior. Expectation = decrease in output per worker.
Scenario 2: All races are equal, but only the best gain these jobs. Expectation = improved allocation of resources increases output.

Your argument is that Scenario 2 is not the foregone conclusion. But if we assume a more favorable view of whites and still observe an increase in output, what do the results imply about assumption?

33 TMC November 27, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Nothing. The 20% could easily be 0% with the other factors causing improvement.
I’m not arguing that either case is true, but that the assumption should not be made at all and we have no clue what role allocation plays.

34 Z November 27, 2013 at 1:51 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups, the occupational distribution in 1960 suggests that a substantial pool of innately talented black men, black women, and white women were not pursuing their comparative advantage.”

Paging Steve Sailer. Paging Steve Sailer.

35 msgkings November 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Someone fire up the Sailer Signal. It’s the one shaped like a Klan hood.

36 Z November 28, 2013 at 8:35 am

The hilarity of your post is that you are totally unaware of the hilarity.

37 Luke November 27, 2013 at 1:58 pm

“We find that 15 to 20 percent of growth in aggregate output per worker over this period may be explained by the improved allocation of talent.”

Are they only looking at america?

A lot of countries didn’t have a black minority. Finland, Austria, Germany, Sweden…..they already had an optimal allocation of talent, right?
Is it true that US then have had that much extra growth compared to europa due to improved talent allocation?

38 ad*m November 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups”

I am almost but not quite sure that this is a teaser to lure us commenters in. No, the innate talent does not seem to be evenly distributed across these groups. For example, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Schools), who probably know a lot about innate ability, give a major advantage to blacks and hispanics, as shown by their acceptance vs MSAT score data:

“For average MSAT scores, black applicants are almost three times more likely to be admitted as Asian applicants (84.0% vs. 28.1%), and 2.5 times more likely than white applicants (84.0% vs. 34.1%). Likewise, Hispanic students with average GPAs and average MCAT scores were about twice as likely to be accepted to medical school as white applicants (68.0% vs. 34.1%), and more than twice as likely as Asian applicants (68.0% vs. 28.1%). ” For below average scores, it is more like 7 times as likely.

As uncomfortable as it sounds, If the MSAT (Medical School Aptitude Test) is a reasonable measure of innate ability of becoming a physician, then clearly blacks and hispanics applying to medical school have less innate ability than asians and whites. Definitely there are other criteria for what makes a good physician, such as bedside manners, ethics and many other things, but lower scores on MSAT do predict lower performance in residency.

This entire study is based on a false premise.

39 ad*m November 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm
40 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Here are MCAT, LSAT, GRE, GMAT, and DAT average test scores by race/ethnicity:

http://www.vdare.com/articles/graduate-school-admissions-race-and-the-white-status-game

41 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The paper under discussion is quite right in arguing that disparate treatment such as Jim Crow lowers over-all productivity. That conclusion is true even without implausible assumptions about equal distribution of talent. For example, in 2005, 12% of black LSAT-takers scored above the white median on the LSAT. So, that 12% of blacks would contribute more to the field than the average white would.

42 ed November 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Doctors and lawyers huh?

1. Not clear to me that we can even measure the value of output in the legal profession. Also not clear that there is any social benefit to directing our smartest people into the law, when so much of the law is adjudicating essentially zero-sum conflicts. This might actually be a social loss.

2. My understanding is we face a shortage of doctors, due to limited slots in medical schools and residency. But now we allocate half these scarce slots to women, who are MUCH more likely to take significant time off from work for family reasons, thus exacerbating the shortage problem.

3. I would think that things like manufacturing technology and computer science are much, much more important for measured economic growth than medicine and law, and these fields continue to be dominated by white and Asian males.

43 Doug November 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

“Not clear to me that we can even measure the value of output in the legal profession. Also not clear that there is any social benefit to directing our smartest people into the law, when so much of the law is adjudicating essentially zero-sum conflicts. This might actually be a social loss.”

Used to think along these lines, but now would seriously disagree. Most lawyers aren’t involved in litigation. The bulk of legal work is creating, reviewing and revising contracts of various forms. Society certainly is better off from having comprehensive, enforceable and clear contracts that adequately reflect the intention of the parties. Without good legal representation to create these contracts many entities would not enter into transactions in the first place. And that certainly would represent social loss.

44 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

I was once in charge of getting a 9 figure contract finished between Oracle and the company where I worked. The people working on the contract were evenly divided among lawyers and computer programmers. I pointed out that writing contracts was basically programming (e.g., lots and lots of if-then-else statements) in a programming language that goes back to Anglo-Norman English. The programmers all agreed, while the lawyers all disagreed.

45 Gerard Mason November 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

The thing there is that the programmers would have wanted to define terms and rearrange clauses in such a way as to make the contracts shorter, more comprehensible and less ambiguous, whereas the lawyers … need I go on?

46 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Not really.

The programming language in which contracts are written sounds like 15th Century COBOL, but it’s at least vaguely understandable to the non-lawyers who are paying them to draw it up. In the computer world, programming languages keep evolving away from verbose COBOL toward higher levels of abstraction, making computer programs more impenetrable to the layman today than 50 years ago during COBOL’s heyday.

47 Rahul November 28, 2013 at 12:24 am

@Sailer

Is Python, say, more impenetrable than COBOL? For the same complexity project? I’d love some programmer opinions.

48 ladderff November 28, 2013 at 7:40 am

Yeah, I’m not more than an amateur programmer, but this strikes me as one of Steve’s more dubious claims.

(See what I did there?)

49 Finch November 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

You can express things in Python that you could never express in COBOL. So people don’t write programs to do the same thing, as in Rahul’s hypothetical. They write programs that are more abstract and tough to reason out, because they have a better tool and are doing more complicated things.

So Steve is kinda-sorta right.

50 derek November 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

How did that work out for the music industry? The multitude of contracts made it impossible to react to a changing market and a collapsing distribution mechanism.

A good rule of business is that if you depend on a lawyer to collect, find something else to do.

51 Brian Donohue November 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm

HBD catnip eh?

Clearly, the 1960 allocation (94% of doctors and lawyers white men) was optimal and any drop in that number, even to 93%, can only mean a decline in aptitude due to inferiors getting above themselves.

52 Dangerman November 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again: this is why you shouldn’t trust old, white, male doctors.

They are almost certainly going to have worse abilities, and lower intelligence, than a middle-aged non-white/non-male doctor.

(Full disclosure: am white, not quite old yet though.)

53 Tommy November 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Given that innate talent is unlikely to differ across groups, you should probably trust Asian male doctors the most, since they face the most stringent admissions standards.

54 mike November 27, 2013 at 9:59 pm

yeah seriously, considering that black and hispanic doctors with low IQs and ability get railroaded through the whole process to make quotas? You’re an idiot

55 chuck martel November 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm

” a substantial pool of innately talented black men, black women, and white women were not pursuing their comparative advantage.”
Evidently a substantial pool of innately talented Navajos, Pawnees, Winnebagoes, Eskimos, Bangladeshis, Mongolians, Khazaks, Lapps, or even Hispanics, both men and women, don’t figure in on things like this. The only two minorities are blacks and women, who add up to a majority, nobody else matters.

56 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm

That’s the model most American intellectuals have in their heads: black and white.

I grew up in Los Angeles, with lots of East Asians and Mexicans, so the world always seemed more complicated than the black-white model of the conventional wisdom. Today, the demographics of the whole country are rather like those of Los Angeles in the 1970s, but intellectual discourse still hasn’t caught up.

57 john personna November 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

The Genographic Project says that “Hispanics” of Southern California are of majority European descent. I think that project amply illustrates why asking anyone to self-identify into any small number of “races” is foolish.

And why prompting any student to make a decision based on his racial self-identification, rather than his own, personal SAT scores is stupid, and racist.

58 TMC November 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

“prompting any student to make a decision based on his racial self-identification, rather than his own, personal SAT scores ” Nobody asking that. You made that part up.

59 john personna November 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

Actually, some of the posters here have suggested on their pages that “black students” should be directed one way or another.

60 chuck martel November 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm

“prompting any student to make a decision based on his racial self-identification…is stupid, and racist.” _____________________

The meaning of that statement isn’t clear but lots of people in general self-identify racially, regardless of their specific genetics. An example would be Barack Hussein Obama.

61 john personna November 29, 2013 at 11:10 am

Sure, and there was much comedy (IMO) as people argued that Barack was, or was not, black. At 50:50, he might be neither, or “mixed” or “colored” if you go back to the apartheid rules.

62 john personna November 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

“Barack’s just zis guy, ya know?” (Apologies to the estate of Douglas Adams.)

63 chuck martel November 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm

From the time of William Wilberforce, pseudo-liberals have been justifying their ideology-based policies on the tribulations of one easily-identified minority, Americans of African slave descent. Unlike the native Americans, the chattel blacks were never subjected to an overt government policy of extermination and this fact has resulted in their significant visibility and consequent use as a political football for insincere and ineffective social engineering. Oddly, Obama himself, while trading on an Afro-American identity, in no way fits the general definition of such, having no roots in pre-Civil War black slavery.

64 john personna November 29, 2013 at 3:31 pm

That’s kind of a strange construction, chuck. But what of Marlon Brando and his academy award? Was he not acting then as a pseudo-liberals, justifying his ideology-based action on the tribulations of one easily-identified minority?

I’m afraid you really come across as “forget the actual oppression, it’s the liberals who bother me.”

65 dirk November 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

It’s a contentious given, but what a boring predictable bunch of comments so far.

The assumption I don’t understand is that an increase in aggregate income in a field implies there has been a productivity increase in that field. Better lawyers and doctors cause wages for doctors and lawyers to rise? Isn’t it a whole lot more complicated than that? Granted I only skimmed the paper but I don’t see how one could unbias the data to account for the more significant factors in play.

66 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm

good point. The authors are clear that they do not establish a “causality”: “While it is not our goal to causally identify any specific friction that explains differences in occupational sorting, our model is broad enough to encompass many of the common explanations highlighted in the literature.” And yet, there is more than a hint of less discrimination as a boost to productivity.

One should always be concerned about a third factor that could both raise incomes and lower barriers to entry for some workers … such as a positive aggregate demand shock. Did women get jobs because men suddenly thought them capable (sometimes I wonder reading here…)? Or did they get jobs because there was more work to be done and the available men were tapped out? Higher wages could have reflected greater demand and brought in workers further down the supply curve. Marginal workers benefit ALOT from a vibrant economy.

Of course, there are inefficiencies associated with discrimination that likely ebbed away at the same time (the low hanging fruit in TGS) but this type of study may well overstate the costs of discrimination and understate the benefits of underlying demand. All that said, I am a little rusty on my Roy models and maybe they handled that concern (somehow?) in the paper.

67 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I should be a little careful with this statement: “overstate the costs of discrimination and understate the benefits of underlying demand” … I think there is substantial cost to an economy operating below its current potential (all workers) and not encouraging everyone to develop their full potential. A more inclusive work force is almost certainly a sign of progress, regardless of the driving force. (The Sandra Day O’Connor example in the paper…she could only land a legal secretary job out of law school…is a pretty stark example.)

68 dirk November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I agree with your points but am unclear on how this study sheds any new light on the subject. For instance, the anecdotes make a stronger case than the data.

69 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm

The contribution of the paper is quantifying the aggregate effect (using a Roy model). Anecdotes are powerful (if you care to listen) but the average effects in the data are impressive too.

70 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I mean just to be clear, I’d bet my 401(k) that despite you being in the “prediction” industry, you’ve rarely if ever had someone look back at your predictions in hindsight and check whether they’re right or not – and if they were wrong someone would almost certainly give some bullshit reason why “unexpected events” caused them to be wrong. In other words, you’re paid to make “predictions” that people want to hear, not because they think they’re accurate, you’re a bone-thrower in other words and scum like you are the reason our arrogant government class constinues to assault those of us unfortunate enough to live within its borders.

71 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Oh and just as a final thought, I bet you have gone your whole career without ever giving a single moment’s thought about why nobody ever looked back to see whether your predictions were right or not. Just made predictions, and never looked back. Pure evil.

72 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 12:44 am

If Tyler isn’t going to ban this fucking prick ‘mike’ then I’m standing up for Claudia. ‘mike’: fuck off. Whatever you think you are adding to this blog, you’re wrong. And you are so much less intelligent than you think you are. No amount of cursing response that we all know is coming proves otherwise, and in fact proves it so.

Blah blah blah shitlib blah blah blah ruining this country blah blah blah evil….bring it on, dick.

73 mike November 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I think your assumption, that thee faire maiden needs some internet white knight to come to her aid lest she give into a spell of fainting or get the vapors, is light years more insulting than anything I’ve said.

74 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Fuck you, mike. I’m standing up for everyone here since Tyler and Alex won’t. Or they’re busy, it is a holiday after all.
What are you thankful for, you miserable little prick?

75 Yoshua Frum November 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I work as a government economist, and I actually spend most of my time testing prior predictions to see how well they held up (I work in demographics).

76 mike November 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Yoshua Frum, I’d be interested to hear about the agency you work for unless it would be too close to doxxing you.

msgkings, keep your psycho poison to yourself.

77 David Levy November 29, 2013 at 1:37 am

Normally I value level hotheadedness and reasoned discourse. But in this case there really is no point. This isn’t about discourse this is about me venting and hopefully regaining some of my sanity. So…

mike, You a vile and putrid human being. I am a lesser person for having read your insipid drivel. Please, kindly fuck off and die.

78 Yoshua Frum November 29, 2013 at 5:29 am

mike: I work at the Danish department of education. Since quotas for higher education is largely set exogenously by government in Denmark, we want to have a rather precise idea of how well we matched labor market demands for engineers, doctors, etc. We do this by an ensemble of econonometric and DCGE models. A recent example: the predicted fertility of MENA immigrants failed to converge as quickly as it did, leading to a bias in the prediction of surplus low-human capital workers. There is currently a lot of work being done to evaluate how to better estimate the convergence rates of immigrant fertility to allow for better modeling.

79 mike November 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

That is interesting, although it seems like it would be simpler to just not have so much central planning in the first place! Though I imagine a lot of “Occupy Wall Street” types would be mad if you told them there was no Gay Studies program because there’s no demand for Gay Studies, but they’d probably be better off than they are now.

80 mike November 28, 2013 at 1:43 pm

But I will apologize and clarify that my rhetorical excesses were directed at macro-economists in general and not Claudia (whose comments I often enjoy and respect, her participation in that odious profession notwithstanding)

81 Phill November 27, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Tyler: You have a racism problem with a vocal minority of your commenting population.

The paper is about the growth in aggregate output per worker yet a majority of people immediately latched on to ways in which other people are inferior to white men. I understand that your brand affiliation as a maverick right-of-center attracts race-obsessed nutjobs but it’s extremely off putting.

It reflects rather poorly on both you and Alex that you folks allow this to persist.

82 Cliff November 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

What would you have them do? Start moderating true but uncomfortable comments?

The whole study is about race and discrimination, please don’t try to make the claim that race is totally irrelevant in discussing the study!

83 Phill November 27, 2013 at 3:35 pm

>Start moderating true but uncomfortable comments?

Start moderating the *racist* comments. Don’t be obtuse.

Since I posted my comment I see someone’s removed the comment where the guy literally said “Western civilization was made by white men. It will fall when th[ey’re removed]”. I see a few others have been culled as well.

How about the guy above that equates being a good lawyer or a good doctor with physical ability by drawing an analogy to female participation in professional sports? Are you actually defending this as a startling example of intellectual integrity? Yes, I’m sure no other motives are being that _brilliant_ piece of snark. We should all be proud.

84 Turkey Vulture November 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm

If you can’t defeat people whose views you find abhorrent in open debate, your views and the basis for those views must be pretty weak. To be clear, by “open debate” I mean some form of actual argument, not just calling people racists.

I’m not in with the whole HBD crowd, and I think it’s a pointless thing to be obsessed about. But your mindset – silence those you disagree with – is dangerous.

85 RPLong November 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

You know, 4Chan could take down MarginalRevolution.com pretty easily with very little effort. Surely there are limits.

86 Phill November 27, 2013 at 4:07 pm

>If you can’t defeat people whose views you find abhorrent in open debate, your views and the basis for those views must be pretty weak.

This is a false dichotomy. I spend most of my time on the internet in open debate.

I’m 100% enforcing social mores here: it’s 2013 and nitpicky, bitchy arguments over racialism *that don’t include discussions on income disparity* are painfully, obviously racist in nature. It’s boring, it’s uninteresting and it’s wildly offensive.

And as I mentioned above: the most egregious posts have already been moderated away.

Do we have to waste time discussing whether miscegenation will lead to the dilution of the moral virtues of America? Oh man, don’t get me started on how society will fall apart if the homosexuals get the right to marry.

No, of course not. That’s bullshit. You’re not clever. You’re not supporting free speech. You’re being an asshole.

87 Turkey Vulture November 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

“No, of course not. That’s bullshit. You’re not clever. You’re not supporting free speech. You’re being an asshole.”

For someone so worried about things that are “wildly offensive,” you sure seem willing to veer into abusive territory.

“Do we have to waste time discussing whether miscegenation will lead to the dilution of the moral virtues of America? Oh man, don’t get me started on how society will fall apart if the homosexuals get the right to marry.”

Does this mean you’re pronouncing disagreements with gay marriage as being beyond the pale now? There may be some people who would be offended by your casual equivocation of interracial marriage with same-sex marriage, such as a religious interracial married couple.

88 So Much for Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Phill

This is a false dichotomy. I spend most of my time on the internet in open debate.

Trying to shut it down?

I’m 100% enforcing social mores here: it’s 2013 and nitpicky, bitchy arguments over racialism *that don’t include discussions on income disparity* are painfully, obviously racist in nature. It’s boring, it’s uninteresting and it’s wildly offensive.

Except you have a horse before the cart issue here. Are Blacks poorer because of discrimination or because, you know, they are Black? That is, there are racial, or I would hope cultural, explanations for why they are so poor? If you insist that this is a class issue and anyone who doesn’t agree with your pop Marxism should be censored, well, I don’t think the discussion will go far. You can’t do what the authors in the OP did and insist on a tautological argument before you even start.

Do we have to waste time discussing whether miscegenation will lead to the dilution of the moral virtues of America? Oh man, don’t get me started on how society will fall apart if the homosexuals get the right to marry.

Well yes. In other circumstances I am sure you would be the first to leap gleefully on such a discussion. We just have to frame it right. It would be perfectly possible to point out that the Republicans have a problem with non-White voters. And as the number of non-White voters increases as a share of the US voter base, they are doomed unless they change. So I would guess it would be wrong to say “More miscegenation means the Republic of Jefferson and Lincoln cannot survive” but it is fine to say “More racial diversity means the nasty racist Republicans will have to embrace a more European-style social welfare system or go the way of the Dodos”.

Even though they mean much the same thing.

As for Gay marriage, straight men are already declining to get married. As marriage ceremonies are turned into a casting call for Priscilla Queen of the Desert, they will refuse to do so even more. And how has that worked out for the African American community?

No, of course not. That’s bullshit. You’re not clever. You’re not supporting free speech. You’re being an asshole.

And yet he is not running scared of a few words and calling for his safe little world to be protected through censorship.

89 Phill November 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

Turkey Vulture:

Today, would you associate your real name with any argument against interracial marriages? Why or why not? Does the answer involve “the pc brigade”?

So Much For Subtlety:

>Are Blacks poorer because of discrimination or because, you know, they are Black? That is, there are racial, or I would hope cultural, explanations for why they are so poor?

It’s beyond well established that they’re poorer because they’re Black. Being black has meant undergoing systematic discrimination that continues to persist to this day. And because you see similar levels of underachievement in poor Appalachian whites. Or any other uneducated underclass.

And it’s not even clear that talking about cultural influences in isolation of economic circumstances is a meaningful question.

Here’s how to talk about it in interesting ways: it turns out that lower income levels are associated with a higher incidence of major early childhood stress, which in turn is directly linked to adult cognitive impairments. Although being more violent and impulse is an effective survival strategy in violent environments, in effect it behaves like a disability that is transmitted epigenetically.

This isn’t pop Marxism.

>As for Gay marriage, straight men are already declining to get married. As marriage ceremonies are turned into a casting call for Priscilla Queen of the Desert, they will refuse to do so even more. And how has that worked out for the African American community?

This is homophobic *and* kind of racist.

90 So Much For Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Phill

It’s beyond well established that they’re poorer because they’re Black. Being black has meant undergoing systematic discrimination that continues to persist to this day. And because you see similar levels of underachievement in poor Appalachian whites. Or any other uneducated underclass.

It is not even remotely well established that they are poorer because of discrimination. What you mean is that is the only acceptable explanation in polite company. That does not mean it is true. Any other uneducated underclass? Sure, let’s ignore that word “uneducated”. Asian Americans have a long and powerful history of discrimination in the United States. The entire Japanese American population outside Hawaii was totally dispossessed within the life times of some people reading this. They are what now? The third richest community in the United States? It does not look like discrimination and dispossession in and of themselves are enough to create an underclass.

But “uneducated”? That they are not. Nor are Jewish Americans with another long history of discrimination behind them. In fact I would think both communities have a strong preference for education. So much so that discrimination could not keep them out of higher education – or down.

And it’s not even clear that talking about cultural influences in isolation of economic circumstances is a meaningful question.

Sure, if you’re a Marxist. Everyone else can see California’s Japanese American community.

Here’s how to talk about it in interesting ways: it turns out that lower income levels are associated with a higher incidence of major early childhood stress, which in turn is directly linked to adult cognitive impairments. Although being more violent and impulse is an effective survival strategy in violent environments, in effect it behaves like a disability that is transmitted epigenetically.

Horse or cart? Obviously people with poor impulse control and a tendency to be violent – which is sometimes claimed to be genetic – are not going to go with a tendency to buckle down and work hard for twelve years in school.

This is homophobic *and* kind of racist.

Yeah but is it true? That is the only question that matters. And how is it racist? It is an observable fact that African American men have largely opted out of marriage. It is also an observable fact that lacking two heterosexual married parents means children are off to a bad start in life. And are more likely to end up in jail or dead. These may not be comfortable facts, but facts they are.

The decline of marriage has been an utter disaster for the African American community. We are seeing the same decline in other communities in America. Gay marriage is likely to speed up the trend. Yes, it is likely to be a social disaster.

91 A Definite Beta Guy November 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What is “racist”? Equating being a good lawyer to a good doctor is not racist.

We should all be proud you are not allowed to moderate the comments, as, in the space of a paragraph, you went from banning “Racist” to “all implications I don’t like.”

More like in the space of 3 sentences.

Scope creep! Scope creep! Scope creep!

92 Phill November 27, 2013 at 4:11 pm

The comparison established an equivalence between differences in physical ability with mental ability. I brought it out to enforce my assertion that lots of other people here are being intellectually dishonest.

Whereas one is obviously measurable and evident to anyone who plays sports, the mental distinction remains unproven as of yet and thus irrelevant. This is all not to mention that it’s not clear why women couldn’t be great sports coaches, aside from the fact that the career pipeline typically involves being a former professional player.

That is to say, the lack of female coaches is systemic and not linked to ability. Unless we’re also maintaining that women are incapable of making strategic plans and getting young athletic men to follow their orders.

93 A Definite Beta Guy November 27, 2013 at 4:36 pm

You are still inferring racism. It is not racist for me to point out that they are basing their study on an unproven assumption. It would also not be racist, or sexist, for me to feel uncomfortable with this study, because their model assumes that any wage gaps that exist are not results of whatever “frictions” they assume exist.
It’s also not racist for me to point out that this model is unable to distinguish your career pipe-lines from systematic execution of women that want to be lawyers.

In fact it is unable to distinguish between ANY kind of frictions, at all. There’s nothing wrong with that, unless you use this as a political stick to push through favored policies.

Overall, I found it a fun little skim, and enjoy the comments as well. Far better than the muck I find elsewhere!

94 jqhart November 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

The comparison established an equivalence between differences in physical ability with mental ability.

Yea haven’t you racists heard that all comparisons are comparisons of equivalence? There’s no such thing as similarity, metaphor, analogy, or any other kind of comparison except equivalence.

It’s racist therefore it’s false! Ban the heretics!

95 So Much for Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Phill

The comparison established an equivalence between differences in physical ability with mental ability. I brought it out to enforce my assertion that lots of other people here are being intellectually dishonest.

Well physical ability is, at least in part, an innate ability. To be a great sports star you also need huge levels of discipline and focus. Which is, presumably, not innate. The question is whether or not mental abilities are likewise innate. Certainly between species we would not be having this argument – no matter what resources or teachers you throw at a donkey, he will not win a spelling bee any time soon.

Whereas one is obviously measurable and evident to anyone who plays sports, the mental distinction remains unproven as of yet and thus irrelevant.

I am not sure that is true. There is a wealth of evidence on differences between races on things like IQ tests. There is also a lot of evidence that IQ tests do measure something useful. IQ is a strong predictor of success in college. All the evidence on intelligence shows that there are differences across races. There is only a debate because some people put their fingers in their ears and scream wwwaaacism!

Now as it happens I don’t think IQ tests measure much except the willingness to do IQ tests. But you can see why young males who are contemptuous of the tests and so do poorly are also likely to make poor doctors and lawyers.

This is all not to mention that it’s not clear why women couldn’t be great sports coaches, aside from the fact that the career pipeline typically involves being a former professional player.

Aside from that small fact, yes. Not to mention that to get to the top in any profession requires dedication and application. The higher you go the majority of professions, the fewer people will succeed. Given women’s well known preference for part-time work, it also means that fewer of them will rise to the top relative to men. So we do not need any explanation based on sexism to explain this.

That is to say, the lack of female coaches is systemic and not linked to ability. Unless we’re also maintaining that women are incapable of making strategic plans and getting young athletic men to follow their orders.

And there’s the problem. You do not consider that distinct groups may have distinct preferences and cultures. Or to put it another way, Stephen Jay Gould said once that compared to South Korean school children, virtually no American children cited Stephen Hawking as a hero. He regretted this. I don’t think that anyone here is going to deny that it is true. But let’s see if you will agree that the chances of a child doing well in school is strongly linked to having heroes like Stephen Hawking? Now, do you think that perhaps there is a strong possibility that the children in some communities in the US are far more likely to admire Stephen Hawking than others? That this is entirely cultural? That is to say, Jewish, East Asian and South Asian children are vastly more likely to admire geeks than African American children and hence are more likely to be better doctors and lawyers? (Not that some Jewish boys won’t despise geeks or that some AA boys won’t love Star Trek, but on average, liking is unevenly distributed between communities)

Is that racist?

96 Phill November 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

So Much For Subtlety:

>The question is whether or not mental abilities are likewise innate. Certainly between species we would not be having this argument – no matter what resources or teachers you throw at a donkey, he will not win a spelling bee any time soon.

>Given women’s well known preference for part-time work, it also means that fewer of them will rise to the top relative to men. So we do not need any explanation based on sexism to explain this.

Are you for real?

97 jqhart November 27, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Which ones were the racist posts? Examples please?

98 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm

When someone says “racist” it’s the equivalent of yelling “witchery” in the 18th century, the idea is to intimidate people based on legal liability or social liability to the mob.

99 john personna November 28, 2013 at 10:59 am

I think the ironic thing is that equating racism (including modern forms) to witchery is spot on.

People believe in “racism” people watch “ghost-hunters” on tv.

100 jqhart November 29, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Indeed. And I notice that our racist-hunters weren’t free enough of cowardice to make their malicious accusations and calls for censorship as direct replies to their victims’ “racist” posts. Instead they make they make their accusations in disconnected posts, and initially in such vague language that we have to ask them what posts specifically they are talking about. Classic passive-aggressive behavior of people operating on far more on ideology and malice than on reality and facts.

101 Erik November 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm

No, the commenting population has a problem with a vocal assumption of the study.

102 TMC November 27, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Tyler: You have a racism problem with a vocal minority of your commenting population”

Grownups are able to discuss these things. The study relies on an assumption that is questionable at best.

103 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

“Grownups are able to discuss these things.” True, but how many non-white-male grownups are taking part in this “discussion”? If you really wanted to exchange ideas and have a discussion then you would do it in a way that made others feel included. If you just want to vent that’s another thing. I see no reason or need for the comments to be moderated but I am amazed at what some people say (with so little regard for its impact on others) and I have felt unwelcome more than once. It is a fine line, but it’s more about asking those who comment to do so as grownups (which the vast majority do).

104 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 6:48 pm

That reminds me of Alastair Roberts post on “two modes of discourse.”

“The first mode of discourse … was one in which sensitivity, inclusivity, and inoffensiveness are key values, and in which persons and positions are ordinarily closely related. The second mode of discourse … is one characterized and enabled by personal detachment from the issues under discussion, involving highly disputational and oppositional forms of rhetoric, scathing satire, and ideological combativeness.”

To provide a scorecard: you can think of Roberts’ “first mode of discourse” as the one dominant in the 21st Century, while the second mode represents an idealized 19th Century British view of argument as sport. First = New, Second = Old.

“When these two forms of discourse collide they are frequently unable to understand each other and tend to bring out the worst in each other. The first [new, sensitive] form of discourse seems lacking in rationality and ideological challenge to the second; the second [old, sporting] can appear cruel and devoid of sensitivity to the first. To those accustomed to the second mode of discourse, the cries of protest at supposedly offensive statements may appear to be little more than a dirty and underhand ploy intentionally adopted to derail the discussion by those whose ideological position can’t sustain critical challenge. However, these protests are probably less a ploy than the normal functioning of the particular mode of discourse characteristic of that community, often the only mode of discourse that those involved are proficient in.

“To those accustomed to the first mode of discourse, the scathing satire and sharp criticism of the second appears to be a vicious and personal attack, driven by a hateful animus, when those who adopt such modes of discourse are typically neither personally hurt nor aiming to cause such hurt. Rather, as this second form of discourse demands personal detachment from issues under discussion, ridicule does not aim to cause hurt, but to up the ante of the debate, exposing the weakness of the response to challenge, pushing opponents to come back with more substantial arguments or betray their lack of convincing support for their position. Within the first form of discourse, if you take offence, you can close down the discourse in your favour; in the second form of discourse, if all you can do is to take offence, you have conceded the argument to your opponent, as offence is not meaningful currency within such discourse.”

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2012/12/intellectual-discourse-taking.html

105 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I exist almost exclusively in the second mode of discourse … I’m a macroeconomist … but while efficient it can be tiring, counterproductive (we are all human still), and frankly lonely. Seems a meeting in the middle, some lightening up and some toning it down would go a long way. But I am not convinced that we really want to discuss stuff here so it’s probably beside the point.

106 mike November 28, 2013 at 1:16 am

“I exist almost exclusively in the second mode of discourse …”

LOL, no, everybody thinks they’re in the second mode but few people are. You definitely are not. You’re a clueless middlebrow pseudo, just like all the rest.

107 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm

So mike, are these last 2 comments directed at macro-economists in general, or Claudia specifically?

Grow up, or leave this blog to the adults.

108 mike November 28, 2013 at 1:08 am

“how many non-white-male grownups are taking part in this “discussion”?”

How many non-white-males have anything worthwhile to say? Virtually zero. What is the point of this question?

109 mike November 28, 2013 at 1:14 am

It’s obvious that the “racism” and “sexism” labels have become a tool for leftoid white males to shoehorn non-leftoid white males out of the conversation, and leftoid nonwhites and nonmales seem to think they can do so as well, but that obviously has nothing to do with persuasion.

110 TMC November 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Claudia, there will always be an idiot or two in an open conversation like this, but that does not mean the conversation should stop. If we just go with the ‘close your eyes’ route things will never improve as we never learn anything.

I do think incivility shuts down conversation too.

111 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

In Soviet Russia (which murdered 30+ million of its own people), Phill would be explaining how Tyler has a capitalism problem with a vocal kulak minority.

112 Asher November 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm

A lot of GDP growth from women’s entry into the paid workforce is just moving work from off the balance sheet on to the balance sheet. These women were doing immensely valuable work, which was not counted as GDP. When they entered the work force they did less of the off-balance-sheet stuff (cleaning their own homes, taking care of their own children, cooking their own food) and more of the on-balance sheet stuff (managing companies, performing surgery, cleaning other people’s homes, taking care of other people’s children). So even if this change does measurably lead to a big change in GDP, it does not follow that it leads to a big change in real output.

This does not apply to increased opportunities for men. Porters were already counted in GDP, a porter who is capable of being a doctor is a measurable misallocation.

113 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm

“Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ across groups …”

Alert the NBA!

114 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

If these people were even slightly intelligent and believed even 1% of what they said, they’d be complaining about the (pro-black) racial disparities in pro sports instead of the name of the Washingon Redskins

115 Ed November 27, 2013 at 3:37 pm

This is a dumb argument for lots of reasons, but there are two principal ones:

1. The assumption that the only non-talent rated restrictions on entry into these professions was based on sex and race. The argument couldn’t take into account that its possible to remove sex and racial related barriers to entry, then erect completely different barriers to entry for other talented groups, or even for different races.

2. I’m not sure about lawyers, but in the case of doctors a society can only have so many at one time, and in fact in the US the AMA is active in restricting the number of doctors. If the set of “x” in a society is finite, its actually possible to restrict profession”x” to ethnic group “y” and still get a really high quality selection of “x”, as long as “y” is sufficiently bigger than “x”. In fact, in this situation, probably the most talented members of “y” will all move into “x”, because of their group’s monopoly they have a much better shot at employment there than in other fields (a comparative advantage). In the US, you could probably have a law that only Jews could become doctors and still get plenty of excellent doctors (you would also see very few Jews in other professions).

While #2 is more complicated, the fact is that you really don’t need that big of a talent base numerically. Unless restriction to entry in a field is very narrow indeed, for example limited to members of a few aristocratic families, you just have to let enough people compete to get a reasonable range of talent. Employers deluged with resumes use all sorts of arbitrary criteria (but not sex or race!) to get the number of resumes they have to deal with down to a rmanageable level.

The funny thing is that labor force participation among adults in the US is pretty much back to where it was before the mass entry of wormen in the work force, so the end result was to remove an open barrier against women and erect hidden barriers to various sub-groups of both sexes.

116 So Much for Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

In the US, you could probably have a law that only Jews could become doctors and still get plenty of excellent doctors (you would also see very few Jews in other professions).

Well the US used to have a system of racial preferences that kept Jews out of Ivy League schools and hence, presumably, made it harder for them to become doctors.

Now there are two ways of looking at this. One would be the common sense approach which would be that America denied itself a large pool of talented people who happened to be Jewish but had to work in some other field. Or you could say, as these authors seem to be saying, that America was simply tapping the large pool of talent in the non-Jewish population and so was better off.

I have my doubts about that second claim.

If there was a large pool of non-White males who did well in the admission exams but were excluded, we would probably be better off if we allowed them into medical school. That is not the situation America faces now – although obviously it was the situation they faced with Jewish applicants back then. Minorities tend to do worse in the exams and get admitted with lower scores. If, and it is a big if, the exams measure anything worth measuring, we are all worse off.

117 Ed November 29, 2013 at 11:55 am

This really wasn’t my claim. My claim was that you only need a certain number of good doctors or lawyers or whatever per capita. And they only have to be “good enough”, they don’t have to be the best doctors or lawyers in the world. I agree that both these claims are counter-intuitive for most educated people these days, so try to compare them against the logic of the opposing claims.

Anyway, if you only need a certain amount of people in a profession to provide services to the population, and they only have to pass a high threshold of the ability, if the population is big enough you can start arbitrarily excluding big segments of the population and still get a large enough talent pool. In fact if the population is big enough, you have to do this explicitly or implicitly, you can select by merit only after you have weeded down the number of candidates to a number small enough to properly evaluate.

118 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm

“In 1960, 94 percent of doctors and lawyers were white men. By 2008, the fraction was just 62 percent. … the occupational distribution in 1960 suggests that a substantial pool of innately talented black men, black women, and white women were not pursuing their comparative advantage.”

The authors are trying to pull a fast one on readers by not mentioning that a large fraction of 2008 doctors are neither white nor black, but are East or South Asian (and, to a lesser extent, Hispanic).

Anyway, as a contribution to policy debate, this abstract is a straw man, since nobody wants to go back to the disparate treatment blacks suffered in some states in 1960. However, there is a very real debate over the net impact on the economy of the post-1972 regime of anti-disparate impact regulations.

119 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm

No Steve, the authors are not pulling a fast one. There is a higher fraction of women and blacks are doctors now than in 1960. The paper ends by noting that other forms of discrimination have occurred and are worth studying (the intro and conclusion are quite readable). Barriers to entry to immigrant doctors are just as inefficient (leaving money on the table so to speak) as ones to women and minorities.

It is not addressing a straw man policy. The point of this type of work is to show someone like yourself that bringing marginal groups (immigrant, low socioeconomic status youth, etc.) into the labor force (with skills) has large economic benefits. Discrimination, or even being discriminating is costly for all us. You can disagree with the conclusions but they are still quite applicable.

120 msgkings November 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

+1

121 jqhart November 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

You can disagree with the conclusions but they are still quite applicable.

How does one apply things with which one disagrees?

122 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 5:44 pm

relevant, fine. my point was the paper is not just about the past.

123 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm

You should take your contention up with Tyler. After all, he was the one who argued in The Great Stagnation that one of the three main reasons was that America didn’t have many uneducated smart youth anymore.

124 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Dear Claudia:

The points you are making are the same ones I made in my 1996 National Review cover story on Jackie Robinson and how the baseball teams that desegregated first palpably benefited in the standings. As I pointed out 17 years ago, this is all Gary Becker “Theory of Discrimination” 101.

http://www.isteve.com/jackierobinson.htm

125 Axa November 28, 2013 at 4:04 am

Dear Claudia: You haven’t read Steve Sailer’s Complete Essay’s Volume IX Issue 4 from 1996, how you dare to comment before reading the bibliography? 😉

126 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

When I say that the authors are trying to pull a fast one, I mean that they are exploiting the tendency of well-socialized Americans to assume that there are still only two substantial racial groups in America, whites and blacks.

In reality, a look at the 2008 numbers shows that the majority of the increase in the percentage of doctors who aren’t white since 1960 comes from Asians:

“Three out of four physicians identified themselves as white, non-Hispanic, while 3.8 percent were black, non-Hispanic, 5.3 percent were Hispanic, and 17.2 percent were Asian or other races. However, among physicians under age 40, about two-thirds were white and 33 percent were minority—black (4%), Hispanic (5.4%), and Asian or other race (24%)”

http://www.hschange.com/CONTENT/1078/

Asians were not subject to Jim Crow in 1960; they mostly just weren’t here.

In particular, the increase in black doctors has been trivial in the big picture.

127 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

“bringing marginal groups (immigrant, low socioeconomic status youth, etc.) into the labor force (with skills) has large economic benefits.”

Well yeah it is correct when you’re talking about fresh off the boat european & chinese male immigrants. It’s not so much when you’re talking about dumb as a box of rocks blacks.

128 Brian Donohue November 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Nobody? You should study your fanbase more closely.

129 msgkings November 27, 2013 at 4:51 pm

+1

130 Tyler Cowen November 27, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Claudia is exactly right, and a lot of you don’t understand the paper.

131 TMC November 27, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Claudia is correct, but the paper proves nothing.

132 ummm November 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I’ve read Steve’s blog and his readers don’t seem to harbor any racial animus. Some stories have a racial aspect that the media often ignores for fear of offending people.

133 dirk November 27, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I read Steve’s blog too and enjoy it and don’t consider it racist because racism in my book means judging an individual by their race as opposed to their individual merits. As far as I can tell, Steve doesn’t do that.

But many of his readers are obvious old school racists.

134 Careless November 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Of course it’s a sort of trick, Claudia. In the data they’re using, 22.5% are Hispanic or Asian. The majority of what they’re pointing out is not what they’re pointing out.

135 Careless November 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Actually, it looks like it’s almost exactly 50-50, and I’m not sure which is larger.

136 Claudia November 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I would have written the sentence the other way around (noting the increase in the fraction female and black doctor), but the qualitative point is the SAME and the paper does not stop with the summary statistic. Show me in the paper where they identify their aggregate effects off the increase in Hispanic and Asian skilled workers. It’s not a trick (even sort of) and if anything makes there results all the more impressive. Here’s the sample in the model: “We use data from the 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 Decennial Censuses and the 2006-2008 American Community Surveys (ACS).11 We make four restrictions to the data. First, we restrict the sample to white men (wm), white women (ww), black men (bm) and black women (bw).”

137 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm

In 2008, the percentage of black doctors was, despite generations of affirmative action in medical school admissions (e.g., the Bakke Supreme Court decision of 1978), still quite low: 3.8% of all doctors. The main reason is because there is little if any affirmative action in the post-medical school board licensing exams.

138 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

In general, African-Americans in the 21st Century don’t provide much competition for elite-level whites. Mostly, elite whites compete with each other over hiring symbolic African-Americans for jobs like President of the United States. But, in the big picture, competitors qualified to compete for good jobs such as doctor are largely restricted to whites and Asians.

139 Axa November 28, 2013 at 4:16 am

Caution, this is a poor bad joke. This should be named as the Steve Sailer effect, once a job position is occupied by a black, the job automatically becomes low status. The day blacks get interested in medicine, it will become a low status profession too.

140 prior_approval November 28, 2013 at 12:13 am

It must be such a burden for you to live in a civilized nation.

141 Axa November 28, 2013 at 4:07 am

Saudia Arabia might fulfill your expectations

142 Rahul November 28, 2013 at 5:23 am

How bad do things have to get before someone gets banned at MR?

143 P November 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Don’t feed the troll.

144 TMC November 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Not even close yet. Mulp and prior are still around.

145 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm

mulp and prior aren’t anywhere near this jerk. prior is an ass but he’s not a rabid vile prick spewing racist, misogynistic, pointless drivel.

146 mike November 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm

u mad bro? no just kidding its a rhetorical question cause you so obviously are

147 David Levy November 29, 2013 at 1:43 am

I don’t know what it takes. But if phrases like “dumb as a box of rocks blacks” and calling another commenter a “dumb cunt” doesn’t do it I don’t think anything does.

148 john personna November 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

We know Tyler believes in “self-negating” arguments. Perhaps not all commentators know when they are making them.

149 ummm November 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

we’re definitely in a talent boom. never before in the history of the world have the financial rewards for talented, high iq, ambitious people been so great. surging stock prices, bitcoins, the high-end real estate market, and web 2.0 valuations are evidence of this. In today’s economy is not uncommon for someone to become fabulously wealthy with relatively little work just by coding the next big thing or getting in early on a lucrative investment like bitcoin or startup.

150 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Sounds like in “Bonfire of the Vanities,” in which all the bond traders get together and congratulate themselves that the reason behind rising bond prices in the mid-1980s is a sudden efflorescence of talent among bond traders.

151 Anonymous November 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Does such thing as “innate talent for being a doctor” even exist? My view is that anyone who spends a long time learning the trade has the capability of being a doctor. Thus it doesn’t really matter whether the finite number of doctors society needs is chosen from the whole population or only from white men.

152 ummm November 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

there is an iq threshold

153 Dismalist November 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm

And it is low.

Apologies, Dismalist

154 Anonymous November 28, 2013 at 7:11 am

This might be true. However, I suspect that this threshold is so low that the demand for doctors can be satisfied even by training just white men to be doctors.

155 mike November 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

The fact that people ask “Does such thing as “innate talent for being a doctor” even exist?” makes me extremely scared of the future

156 john personna November 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

Reminds me of the global warming arguments. “Sure, you have a PHD in climatology, and have spent 20 years in the field, but I got a C in HS earth science and watch Fox news. Obviously I can discount your opinion.” We definitely live in a society that discounts expertise. Or I say “my doctor put me on lipitor,” and every random person I meet says “you shouldn’t take it.”

Of course, in the license professions we know that licensees have made the grade, and have expertise.

157 Anonymous November 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I’m not discrediting doctor’s expertise. I’m saying that the expertise is not due to some “innate genetic inclination to doctoring”, but due to years of studying and practicing the trade. In the original post it was implied that this “innate talent” somehow plays a significant role in how good of a doctor a person can be.

158 Thomas November 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Then why the MCAT, why the undergraduate GPA, why school prestige, and why do these somehow signify less for applicants of certain groups?

159 Marian Kechlibar November 29, 2013 at 5:29 am

Yeah, I would say that there is such a thing as being a talented doctor.

First of all, you need enough IQ to be able to read and write. A low bar, but still.

Second, you need good-enough memory to memorize a LOT of stuff. Not everyone has that, even some smart people. I am not sure whether I could memorize the pile of books required for anatomy or physiology exam.

Third, unless you’re a pathologist, your ability to connect with the patients plays some role in the healing proces.

160 john personna November 29, 2013 at 11:34 am

I agree with Marian that memory skills (perhaps of a certain kind) would be important to medicine and law. I know for myself I have good memory of things, but not names of things. This hindered me greatly in Organic Chemistry, when the name of the reaction was the answer, not just a mental image of the reaction.

161 Steve Sailer November 27, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Here’s a 1996 article by me in National Review on increase in talent from taking down disparate treatment barriers: the integration of baseball from 1947 onward. The first movers, such as the Brooklyn Dodgers, reaped major benefits. The Dodgers won six National League pennants in the ten years Jackie Robinson played for them. Most of the late movers, such as the 1946 World Series teams Boston and St. Louis, suffered dramatically (Ted Williams and Stan Musial never played in another World Series.) The dominant Yankees, however, could afford to be a relatively late mover:

http://www.isteve.com/jackierobinson.htm

162 ignacio November 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

The number of white male dotors went from 94% to 62% in a few decades. However, with respect to doctors, their number in the USA has not increased with population. Hence, it is not that the doors have opened for additioinal doctors made up of a contingent of female and minority persons, but replacing white male doctors with these people. This is a shame because many competent people are forced to dedicate themselves to other, maybe less productive, professions.

163 msgkings November 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

The AMA is probably the main bottleneck in fixing the health care cost problem.
Not that I blame them, it’s easy for us non-doctors to say doctors make too much. So it’s natural that group would fight hard not to see a reduction in income.
But they do make too much, see the whole rest of the world. Also, it costs too much to become a doctor which is part of the reason they ‘need’ to make so much. Both issues will someday hopefully be addressed.

164 So Much for Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Doctors in Singapore make about the same multiple of average income that US doctors do. And yet Singapore has the best and cheapest health care system in the world. I am not sure it is true that American doctors are paid too much.

I think it is true that they do too little. There was a time when GPs really did everything. From deliver babies to fairly major operations. Now they hand out antibiotics and refer people to a specialist. But they are still paid as if they were real doctors as they used to be. There is a definite case for a much lower paid, and less trained, Assistant who would do most of that.

However none of this has anything to do with the article

165 Alan November 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

But it is a good point. The nature of the job has changed. Ask your doctor about 15, 10, or even 6 minute medicine. A modern GP might be equivalent to a 1950 school nurse for as much actual diagnosis and treatment they do. … In my experience.

166 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Doing too little is pretty much the same as being paid too much. If all they do is what you claim (and I tend to agree), then they should make less.

167 msgkings November 28, 2013 at 8:39 pm

That’s kind of my point. A good deal of health care could very easily be delivered by nurses and aides and onsite corporate clinics. But the AMA opposes that stuff every chance they get. Again, I don’t blame them for putting up their dukes, but something still needs to be done there.

168 So Much for Subtlety November 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Is it worth pointing out that there is a lot more to being a doctor or a lawyer than innate talent? It takes roughly twelve years of serious application in and out of school for one thing.

It is perfectly possible to suggest that other things have changed since the 1950s which have an impact on acceptance rates. A willingness to sacrifice those twelve years for one thing. The collapse of the Black family means that fewer young Black males are willing to give up their prime years to study. What is the point? The rewards are not high enough any more.

That means they are not comparing like populations. Young Black males in 2012 behave in a very different way to young Black males in 1952. As do young White males only not so much.

After all, it is hard to explain general failure in the modern world even as we become more diverse otherwise. NASA was all-male and all-White when it sent a man to the Moon. They can’t even put a man into orbit now they are vastly more diverse. The 1950s saw major medical breakthroughs. We have not had any significant medical advance for some time – at least since the 1980s. Law is, of course, impossible to measure.

I don’t think their evidence is strong for improvements in the fields.

169 ? November 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm

We find that 15 to 20 percent of growth in aggregate output per worker over this period may be explained by the improved allocation of talent.

The idea that doctors, for instance, in 1960 were these kind of untalented White men, who’ve now been replaced by competition from more talented members of other groups… who were excluded, extremely dubious.

I think the likeliest outcome is more… probably more doctors of less skill.

As for output increases – Do doctors in the modern age seem more efficient? Is that consistent with spiraling health costs? Output may be increasing but not output for cost. Some increased allocation of talent…
True output/cost increases are likely technological and research driven educational trends (largely created by… guess who?).

170 dirk November 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Very classy comment section today.

171 dirk November 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

I can’t seem to reply to comments here anymore. Just me or was this the worst MR comment section ever? The Sailer crowd continues to suffer from the myriad bad apples problem.

172 P November 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Tyler knew exactly what would happen when he posted that inane abstract.

173 Alex' November 28, 2013 at 1:41 am

Y’all are a bunch of racists, but I can’t resist being hypocritical and posting this Family Guy clip:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/149845

174 Nathan Goldblum November 28, 2013 at 4:43 am

One does not have to assume “no innate differences in ability” to see that there are obvious allocation gains to be had. If the IQ of males ~ N(mu_1, sigma_1) and the IQ of females ~ N(mu_2, sigma_2), how skewed would the relative distribution have been for 96% white male to be the optimal allocation?

Granting that mu_1 = mu_2, while sigma_1 > sigma_2 – as the psychometrics seems to indicate at the moment – leads to a skewed allocation to highly qualified jobs, but 96% is very skewed indeed.

175 Marian Kechlibar November 28, 2013 at 5:06 am

I think your numbers are persuasive.

In my opinion, the “no innate differences in ability” in abstract were partly intended as academic trolling.

176 P November 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm

I don’t think it was trolling. It’s a very widespread article of faith in academia.

177 john personna November 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

I think the authors trust the gatekeepers, and believe that anyone making the cut for graduate school and then for professional licensing is qualified. If that’s true, and I would hope it is, then their premise must be correct. Broadening the pool of prospective students (including additional qualified students) will make available more able to achieve productive professional status.

(We can pause and recognize that it is a racist just-so story to say that “well, if more minorities are succeeding, it must be because standards fell.”)

Now, on the suggestion that certain “races” shouldn’t pursue these fields, what the heck, right? Individual students take their SAT scores, and should sit with a counselor to plan a career. We obviously don’t want counselors (in HS or here on the internets) who just look at skin color and say “you should open a dry cleaning establishment.” That’s both stupid and racist. We want the counselors to open the file, read the SAT results, and advise the student based on their own individual strengths.

For God’s sake, many of you above suggest essentially that Yao Ming should not have been given a basketball tryout, and should have been sent to dental school.

178 mike November 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

The argument is more that the government shouldn’t force every NBA team to have a starting lineup which includes at least one asian, one hispanic, and one woman.

179 mike November 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Oh, and that if the government did enforce such a law, then it would be silly to point to all the new asians and women in the NBA as if their mere existence proved the “bigots” wrong

180 mike November 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

And just to complete the analogy: if you then compared the average $$$ contracts of women and asians to the previous decade, and considered the entire increase to “gain from a better allocation of talent” and a boon to the economy

181 mike November 29, 2013 at 12:33 am

and in calculating the benefit to the economy, you assumed the asian and woman influx into the NBA & corresponding income increase could be generalized to the whole population

182 john personna November 29, 2013 at 11:43 am

That’s kind of an extreme, hair-trigger, response. I advise that people be judged on their personal abilities, you go off on government setting basketball lineups. Fairly crazy.

183 mike November 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm

That’s exactly the opposite of reality. Reality is, some people are opposed to antidiscrimination laws, racial preferences, and other quota type social engineering, and you accused them of “suggest[ing] essentially that Yao Ming should not have been given a basketball tryout, and should have been sent to dental school.”

184 TMC November 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

John, you’re valiantly arguing against points no one has made.

185 john personna November 29, 2013 at 11:14 am

I think everything I am arguing against has happened at least once in the column inches above.

186 mike November 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Then it should be easy to quote it.

187 Thomas November 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Not a single commenter spoke to the equivalency of systemic
White privilege and admissions policies that favor race over demonstrated ability. I

188 Therapsid November 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Yes, it’s pretty disingenuous to speak about the economic impact of discriminatory policies from decades ago without addressing the consequences of racial quota systems against Asians and non-Jewish whites today.

189 gauntlet November 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

What are the relative rewards, including social status rewards, of these professions then and now?

i.e., could it be that women and minorities have climbed into these jobs only to find that they are no longer BSD-type roles?

190 market timer November 30, 2013 at 7:07 am

Why not group by IQ? That would be far less contentious. I believe something like that was discussed in the Bell Curve, showing smarter people are more likely to go to college now than pre 1970. This article is worthless.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: