Is this the world you should want?

by on October 24, 2017 at 2:32 pm in Data Source, Economics, Political Science, Religion, Uncategorized | Permalink

We use a machine learning algorithm to identify potential social capital measures that best predict neighborhood-level variation in labor market networks. We find evidence suggesting that smaller and less centralized schools, and schools with fewer poor students, foster social capital that builds labor market networks, as does a larger Republican vote share. The presence of establishments in a number of non-profit oriented industries are identified as predictive of strong labor market networks, likely because they either provide public goods or facilitate social contacts. These industries include, for example, churches and other religious institutions, schools, country clubs, and amateur or recreational sports teams or clubs.

That is from a new NBER working paper by Brian J. Asquith, Judith K. Hellerstein, Mark J. Kutzbach, and David Neumark.

1 Hanging Chad October 24, 2017 at 2:46 pm

It’s already the world as seen through the eyes of economists’ wives, I guess it’s news to economists now that a model says it.

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2 Effem October 24, 2017 at 3:25 pm

+1

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3 JFA October 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

While one could ridicule this as “economists getting on the boat last”, they actually provide new evidence on the strength of labor market networks (not just labor market outcomes) given various levels of social capital. They are not claiming to be novel in the connection, just in the data they bring to bear on the subject. Given that they use machine learning, this is not a causal analysis and the arrow of causation could go the other way.

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4 duderino October 24, 2017 at 11:26 pm

” We find evidence suggesting that smaller and less centralized schools, and schools with fewer poor students, foster social capital that builds labor market networks, as does a larger Republican vote share”

This sounds an awful lot like the white flight into suburb schools in most Southern cities. A lot of brainpower going into something that seems obvious on the ground.

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5 albatross October 25, 2017 at 8:43 am

Where I live, almost all the schools are big, regardless of white flight/racial mix. I think it’s just administratively easier for the school system to handle a smaller number of huge schools, rather than a larger number of small schools. So to the extent there’s evidence that the smaller schools do better in some ways, that’s interesting independently of what most people would consider a good neighborhood.

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6 Floccina October 25, 2017 at 5:26 pm

This sounds an awful lot like the white flight into suburb schools in most cities.

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7 chuck martel October 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

They needed a machine learning algorithm to figure that out?

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8 NYer October 24, 2017 at 3:27 pm

+1

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9 Khalil October 24, 2017 at 6:33 pm

+2.
Apparently no one though to read ‘Bowling Alone’ or visit Scandinavia.

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10 Cove99 October 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm

I bet people who pay 50K a yr in property taxes r happier tham those who r
ent

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11 Justin October 24, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Not sure I understand the question. Is there anything mentioned in that paragraph that I *shouldn’t* want? Small, decentralized schools, and stronger civic organizations? Sounds alright to me.

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12 MOFO October 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

No, but you should never admit that.

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13 Lanigram October 24, 2017 at 9:02 pm

You shouldn’t want Republicans…or churches.

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14 albatross October 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

Share of Republican voters is probably a rough proxy for fraction of whites and also for higher income–Republicans tend to be whiter and wealthier than Democrats.

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15 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 12:17 pm

It looked like they controlled for the various co-efficients in every case. IE when controlling for all variables other than “Democratic two-party vote share”, Democratic leaning districts had a lower LASSO output.

But to be fair, the paper is difficult to parse for a layman. Also, the paper excludes rural data.

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16 NYSHLONSF October 24, 2017 at 3:20 pm

We should only want this world if we think labor market networks are a good thing, which they are not.

That traditional institutions and traditionalist voting patterns correlate with labor market networks is not a shock – that’s just in-group affinity. That helps some people, and hurts those who are not part of the group. It may be reality that people are hired based on who they know, but that’s not actually what we want, and while it’s efficient for some variables, is not optimally efficient across all variables.

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17 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Yes. This seems like it would reinforce class stratification. If you are only creating social cohesion among a certain in-group, it’s good for that in-group, but it reduces social trust between that in-group and everyone else who is stuck on the outside looking in.

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18 We live in interesting times October 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

It’s time for Harvard, Yale and the rest of them to go.

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19 Lanigram October 24, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Human tribalism is a reality. The problem is that we lack skill in intertribal relations. Fix that and we have it licked.

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20 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 9:12 pm

It’s definitely a problem that needs addressing, but I don’t think it’s impossible to overcome. There are lots of subcultures in America that strive for inclusion and flattening of the social hierarchy.

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21 The Other Jim October 24, 2017 at 9:54 pm

And then there are subcultures that strive for endless and escalating welfare to ensure that people stay dependent for life, open borders to ensure that this class grows for all eternity, and a permanently rich State to oversee it all.

Vote accordingly.

22 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Yes, Jim, it’s all a big plot against you. Everything is a big plot by subversive communists.

23 NPW October 25, 2017 at 6:17 am

Snark, Hazel? Jim is correct. There is little desire for inclusion in the US; ‘subcultures’ want dominance of those who are not them. It should be noted that the supposed subcultures are the dominant culture in cities, entertainment, and half of the political landscape.

The misnamed subcultures are not willing to be inclusive or to live along side anyone not them.

24 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:07 am

That’s not really true. Lots of people apolitical or try to keep their social lives that way.
And lots of other people feel that their social lives are more fun when everyone gets along and nobody dominates anyone else.

25 derek October 25, 2017 at 12:07 am

No. This is describing how reality work.

I grew up in a working class environment. In my environment were many trademen who I worked for as a youth. Others had service operations, all making connections into other businesses. Young people got a start, their first jobs. Utterly useless with no marketable skills, but a family friend so had a way in to get a start. From there skills and abilities develop, a notion of the value of work and what it takes to get paid. Apprenticeships in the trades are almost always through connections; someone has to invest substantial amounts of time and money and risk to train you. That is why these things are handed down through families. The connections are also made through churches, schools etc.

These become self reinforcing economies. Kids go to school, get educations, the skills improve over time.

Communities who don’t have that ethic end up poorer and the young people have no one in their acquaintance to give them a leg up.

Efforts to change the situation always seem to break down what is working with no positive results elsewhere. Race activists would be better to start a business and hire young men.

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26 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:11 am

This might have something to do with the fact that, at least in certain parts of the country, trades are union dominated and require occupational licenses.
So yeah, you need a connection to get into the union and/or get the occupational license. To me, this is a kind of corruption – you shouldn’t have to have a friend in the industry. Nepotism is unhealthy for society.

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27 Sam October 24, 2017 at 3:20 pm

If school size is a big predictor, then the cost disease makes some decline in social capital inevitable. Schools, even in rural areas, have been consolidating for some time to economize on labour and spatial costs, like busing. Maybe we need to segregate schools internally. I took French immersion in highschool, and it segregated one group of 20 or so kids into a consistent classroom for three years. There were big selection effects, obviously, but the small, but also consistent classroom helped deepen social capital. How can you play repeated games with peers when the classroom composition keeps changing?

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28 Morgan October 24, 2017 at 7:49 pm

This seems like one of the most interesting comments I’ve ever read.

Yes, I had a bad day and am working on getting my BAC up near the legal limit, but that can’t possibly explain how much depth I perceive here, can it?

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29 Rob October 24, 2017 at 11:13 pm

No, it’s not just the booze. Good observation on game theory and consistency.

Business schools often do the same thing. At my alma mater we did a semester like this. You may not learn much in the classes, but it’s important to take the classes together. Shared hardship and all. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_cohesion

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30 Effem October 24, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Those who want more housing supply in highly-productive areas don’t understand why they are highly productive in the first place: they do a great job of keeping people out. A “country club effect.”

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31 Borjigid October 24, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Like New York or San Francisco?

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32 Morgan October 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm
33 IVV October 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Thus, a more interesting study would be on what is needed to get into the “country club” in the first place. And are outsiders better off trying to join existing clubs or starting their own?

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34 Effem October 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

The solution to high housing prices and low productivity may be to “kickstart” lower-tier cities to provide competition to NY, SF, etc. If i were running govt this is where i’d focus my infrastructure push: expanding the tier-1 cities is a waste of time.

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35 Butler T. Reynolds October 25, 2017 at 11:30 am

The idea is that if San Francisco backs off of their progressive housing policies then they would muddy their highly productive gene pool, so to speak.

I’ve heard that argument, but I don’t find it convincing.

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36 mulp October 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm

The housing policy that says anyone with a backyard can build a small home in their backyard no matter zoning or objections from neighbors, as long as it’s fire and earthquake resistent?

Single family areas with good schools should be able to increase students by 50% by tiny houses built in backyards affordable for single mothers, or the domestic help.

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37 rayward October 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

This describes the small southern town in which I grew up. As I have commented before, most of the kids were average because everybody came from roughly the same background. Of course, this excluded a large segment of the population. When Cowen says average is over, that wouldn’t apply to my generation since everybody who was counted was average, but it applies today because everybody is counted and “average” has taken on an entirely different meaning. Was my world the world I should want? Is it the world you should want?

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38 Axa October 24, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Why do you think the “The presence of establishments in a number of non-profit oriented industries are identified as predictive of strong labor market networks” means the small southern town where you grew up and not a Mormon, Amish or Jew community?

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39 rayward October 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm

We were Christian. Is that not equivalent to Mormon, Amish, or Jew?

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40 mulp October 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

“Christian” most likely means not Catholic, not Protestant with faux Catholic rituals.

The irony is Christian involvement in politics has put the Pope in control of US Federal government, especially the Supreme Court. The Christian story of America is escaping the persecution of the agents of Rome in conflict with the faux agent of God in the King or Queen at the head of the Church of England. The Amish and Brethren are Europeans fleeing to power of Rome. The Puritans were fleeing that alternating regime of Rome and Church of England. Of course, Maryland was Catholics fleeing the Church of England.

“Christianity” from 1500 to 1900+ was as divided as Islam is today. In areas in the US, that is still the case today. Christianity is not a monolith, but only when secularism dominates do diverse Christians unify in public, but still maintain the old conflicts in private. Northern Ireland secularism seems to have ended the religious conflict, but it’s seething under the surface among 10% or more.

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41 Richard October 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Axa misreads rayward’ss comment to say “This *only* describes the small southern town in which I grew up.”

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42 Rimfax October 24, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Trust is not an easy problem to solve. Either you put Hansonian signal gates everywhere or you have to figure out boundaries and acceptance criteria that will work with strangers.

Didn’t you just post the other day about how the Jewish trust networks in diamond trading were breaking down?

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43 Chip October 24, 2017 at 8:36 pm

At the gym today I opened a locker and looked straight at a fat wallet and set of car keys. I mentioned it to an old geezer next to me and he said something like: ‘that’s risky, there was a theft here a couple years back.’’

The high social trust in small towns feels so valuable to a city dweller like me. It’s also refreshing to hear people discuss politics with humor and nuance. So many of my city friends discuss politics like waging war.

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44 Fergal Madigan October 24, 2017 at 3:53 pm

They used “machine learning” to investigate “neighborhood-level variation in labor market.” Do they not realise the irony? Machine learning and technological disruption makes any inquiry on the labour market on a local level intrinsically incomplete. Globalisation has already radically reduced the importance of localised networks in terms of generating employment opportunity – accessing global communities and global institutions (elite universities and multinational corporations) is dramatically more important. Digital technology will further limit the ability of local communities to generate economic opportunity. Do the authors really expect that Youngstown OH or Blackpool in England will achieve a turnaround due to smaller schools and more rightwing voters?

Labour markets are global now, meaning labour policy and labour economics need to be global too.

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45 JWatts October 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm

You seem to be arguing against the data without providing any counter data.

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46 A clockwork orange October 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

The mayor of the town, Benjamin Poftak, is a rough and tumble, big and corpulent man with a goatee. He opened the school one year prior to, as it happens, today. The tax revenue for the school came from bonds issued for an electricity toll kept at public buildings such as the library, the hospitals and the courts. A conservative, deeply evangelical portion of the town had supported his bid for mayor, and when those families sent their homeschooled children into the school, a new form of integration began. The opening of an essentially private school, funded by tax dollars in a liberal town, was a major victory that garnered national attention.

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47 Morgan October 24, 2017 at 7:56 pm

I think you should use a different alias when you’re making sense. I kept trying to read this as blank verse, with the consequence that I opened another beer.

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48 Napoleon Sansomite October 24, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Look, LC is maybe the greatest reality star in history, forming a new sort of “Brat Pack.” She went to both the Academy of Art College, is a privately owned for-profit art school in San Francisco, California AND Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) is a for-profit college in California, United States.

Her central thesis: the more friends you have, the less Gary Becker cares about you. In an age of facebook and Instagram culture and blog culture, the coffee shop and the bar has become a satire of itself. A place where questions are asked but no answers sought. Lauren doesn’t prefer coffee shops, so neither do I.

49 Fergal Madigan October 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Not quibbling with the data at all. Quibbling about the method. Analysing the effects local social capital has on local employment without considering macro globalisation and technology trends is akin to looking how local smoking patterns effect local cancer incidence.At that level of analysis, the level of cancer may well vary highly due to natural variations, meaning you could come to very different conclusions based on whatever constitutes your sample.

Social capital at a local level, will not reverse a decline in manufacturing jobs. It will not prevent automation or robotics from eliminating even more employment. I don’t disagree that having more local social capital is a good thing – but I wouldn’t waste my time advocating this as a political / economic solution to fundamental macro shifts that will affect the entire global economy. Addressing what young people are taught would appear to be a more sensible approach then stipulating the size of group in which they are taught (and if you’re looking for data – go check out the OECD tables on the technical education of South Korean and Singaporean kids vs America kids)

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50 Hanging Chad October 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

I think he’s referring to your claim that “Globalisation has already radically reduced the importance of localised networks in terms of generating employment opportunity – accessing global communities and global institutions (elite universities and multinational corporations) is dramatically more important.” Elite universities have always been important. There have been polls asking people how they got their jobs, from public advertisements of who-you-know, do you have any evidence the who-you-know percentage has declined? Globalization=meritocracy=importance of networking declines is the kind of lazy thinking common in discussions of globalization.

“and if you’re looking for data – go check out the OECD tables on the technical education of South Korean and Singaporean kids vs America kids”

Don’t forget to account for race!

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51 Fergal Madigan October 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Your push on globalisation is a good one. What I had in mind was 2 things.

1. More jobs than ever before are created from the perspective of a global business footprint. This is obviously why a US motor company will build relationships with supplies and contractors across a global supply chain and will be directly responsible for jobs spread out across a global network. I am not eliminating the role of social capital in matching a candidate to a role in that model. But having access to a global network is surely more important as providing access to non-profits in Youngstown. The data point I can provide is today’s rate of manufacturing jobs creation by American companies in China vs Michigan. I am unconvinced that having more Elks clubs is going to help the people of Michigan improve that balance a great deal

2. American elite universities have always mattered. Less true in emerging markets, or even in Ireland where I’m from. These non-traditional elite universities are forming relationships providing an international student body. These international students are obviously more connected to international job opportunities. Once again, the Michigan Elks are not helping

The final point around education and race is bizarre, and verging on offensive stereotyping. The disparity in OECD education stats for US kids is a very very recent phenomenon – as Tyler has often highlighted. Certainly something as profound as intrinsic racial educational attributes is not something that comes through in the data. Second on the educational attainment table is Canada !

52 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 10:10 am

I don’t see how your points counter the results of the study.

” The data point I can provide is today’s rate of manufacturing jobs creation by American companies in China vs Michigan.”

That’s merely a factor of a developing market versus a mature market. Sure, China will have more potential manufacturing jobs than the US (it has a far greater population and a lower wage work force) but it’s safe to assume that the neighborhoods in China that have higher social capital than the average have more extensive labor market networks.

“2. American elite universities have always mattered … Once again, the Michigan Elks are not helping”

This is a bizarre jump. Michigan isn’t known for it’s elite universities. And again you are arguing against the data from the study without any counter data. Unless you can point to data that consistently shows that areas with high social capital have the same or less labor market networks, then you aren’t making any kind of effective rebuttal.

““and if you’re looking for data – go check out the OECD tables on the technical education of South Korean and Singaporean kids vs America kids”

This is not counter data. South Korea and Singapore are small, rich countries that clearly have high social capital. If anything that supports the study.

All this being said, the study shows correlation, causation is far trickier to measure.

53 IVV October 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Yet global communities are, in many ways, these very same local communities. They just aren’t defined as much by physical location or limited geographical reach.

And they’re still highly networked and tough to infiltrate by design.

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54 A Truth Seeker October 24, 2017 at 4:14 pm

How can I get a country club in my street? I think it would make my home appreciate in value.

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55 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 4:31 pm

The only problem is the “fewer poor students” part.
Sure, if you exclude all the people who have trouble fitting in, you end up with more social cohesion in your in-group. But social cohesion should not just be about creating an in-group that excludes everyone who reduces trust, it should be about growing the in-group to include all of the outsiders. It should be about fostering greater social trust across class and racial lines.

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56 JWatts October 24, 2017 at 4:55 pm

“social cohesion … it should be about growing the in-group to include all of the outsiders”

It seems like that kind of decision should be left up to the members. If I’m not a member of a certain group, there is nothing to stop me from creating my own group.

Granted, it’s fine to make your case for an in-group to include you.

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57 anon October 24, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Group “American” is taking a beating in the populist era.

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58 Jeff R October 24, 2017 at 6:18 pm

That’s because in the concurrent Diversity Era, the label means less and less.

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59 anon October 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

There were always people holding to the high ground. The choice is whether morality should be “tactically abandoned.”

Look around with that test. Who is championing the good, and who is deciding to be bad “also” (and possibly based on spurious reports).

Antifa ended up in that second category. They saw KKK rallies, and decided to be bad “also.”

60 Jeff R October 24, 2017 at 8:34 pm

No.

61 anon October 24, 2017 at 8:44 pm

No to which, that there are any people aspiring to the good?

That might be a bit of the particular dysfunction of the modern right. The left at least tries “better together,” but it falls on deaf ears.

“Personal responsibility” and “values voters” have taken a sick way out. They select for left-degenerates if you will, and then say our turn to be degenerate “also.”

62 anon October 24, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Oops, meant “deplorable” but got the wrong d-word.

63 anon October 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Oh, and it was “stronger together”

64 Dick the Butcher October 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

“They” want to implement the left’s race-based vision of where people should live.

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65 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 8:53 pm

If I’m not a member of a certain group, there is nothing to stop me from creating my own group.

Then the members of the old in-group should stop bitching about how they aren’t being included in the new one.
Poor white Christian conservatives, so mean of progressive liberals to make them feel like they don’t belong….

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66 Apso October 24, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Strange response. Why do you conflate poor students with students who have trouble fitting in? A kid can solve for x or he can’t. No bearing on whether he has a date for prom.

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67 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:16 am

I’m making a guess that the results generalize to not just “fewer poor kids” but fewer kids that for whatever reason aren’t socially accepted or well adjusted. It could be because they are poor, but it could be because of racial or ethnic differences, or because of Aspergers, or because they are gay, or they come from dysfunctional families, or any number of reasons. “Poor kids” just sounds like a stand in for a grab-bag of reasons why those kids don’t fit in. Also poor kids usually can’t afford nice clothes and such, so they tend to not be as accepted.

68 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 9:23 am

“Then the members of the old in-group should stop bitching about how they aren’t being included in the new one. ”

I don’t think this adds anything to the conversation.

” Poor white Christian conservatives, so mean of progressive liberals to make them feel like they don’t belong….”

I think you have some personal issues.

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69 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 9:41 am

To be specific, ” Poor white Christian conservatives” aren’t what would generally be considered a successful in-group. They would be an out-group. Even your own post indicates that to be true: “so mean of progressive liberals to make them feel like they don’t belong”.

So, first you make the argument that: ” it should be about growing the in-group to include all of the outsiders.” & “It should be about fostering greater social trust across class and racial lines.”

And then you follow up by denigrating an out-group on racist & class based grounds. That’s an astonishing refutation of your very own first point by a second post made 4 hours later.

I would say that’s poor logic, but I suspect it’s less about a failing of logic than a triumph of emotion over reason.

70 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:20 am

The description given in the original post is one of what would generally be considered a conservative white Christian community.
smaller and less centralized schools, and schools with fewer poor students, foster social capital that builds labor market networks, as does a larger Republican vote share.
… churches and other religious institutions, schools, country clubs, and amateur or recreational sports teams or clubs.

In response to my comment about inclusion, you then suggested that these communities should be allowed to decide who gets to join them. Which I read as saying that white Christian conservative communities should be free to exclude people who don’t fit into those communities. In which case, they can’t really complain about other people excluding them right back, can they?
If that wasn’t what you meant, then I apologize for the misinterpretation.

71 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 11:21 am

“you then suggested that these communities should be allowed to decide who gets to join them.”

Yes, I support Freedom of Assembly (and association). The case is a little blurred between community and group. But as far as I can tell, nothing in the original research is exclusionary on race or class grounds. You’re original comment suggested that successful groups should strive to include people who don’t fit the behavioral norms of the group. Instead, I think that outsiders should have to strive to fit the norms of the group. I don’t support groups that are racist or even ones that are explicitly class based.

To be a member of a given group and to expect to be part of the communal network, you have to behave within the norms of the group. I suspect that the behavioral norms of the communities listed contribute towards their success. I would encourage people to emulate that behavior and reap the rewards.

72 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 12:35 pm

Ok, then if white Christian conservatives don’t like being excluded from cocktail parties, maybe they should strive to emulate the norms of urban liberals and progressives. Including all the stuff about not being racist, sexist or anti-gay.

73 NPW October 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Poor white Christian conservatives don’t want to go to your cocktail parities.

You won’t have any bacon.

What they would like is that if you show up to the barbecue you won’t spend the whole time lecturing them for not being vegan.

74 JWatts October 25, 2017 at 2:57 pm

“Ok, then if white Christian conservatives don’t like being excluded from cocktail parties, maybe they should strive to emulate the norms of urban liberals and progressives. Including all the stuff about not being racist, sexist or anti-gay.”

I’m not sure I know of any white Christian conservatives who want to go to cocktail parties hosted by urban liberals and progressives. And being ” racist, sexist or anti-gay.” is hardly unique to white Christian conservatives. You’re obviously racist, how is it acceptable for you to be racist and yet be upset that someone else is?

75 Bernard Guerrero October 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

That seems to be what they’re talking about, no? Spread the poor folk about so that their kids are the smaller, culture-taking portion of the school populations rather than the large (perhaps exclusive) cuture-giving majority that they make up in most of their current schools. You can integrate a minority, if they’re a majority they integrate you.

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76 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 9:06 pm

Yeah, there is other research showing that poor kids do better if they are spread around in wealthier school districts than if they are concentrated in one school that has all the poor kids in it.

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77 NPW October 25, 2017 at 7:34 am

Other research shows that just a few disruptive kids ruins it for the rest of the class.

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78 albatross October 25, 2017 at 8:52 am

If both these statements are true, we should be able to get substantial gains in education by having income-integrated schools with strict discipline to either keep the disruptive kids under control or to send them back to a less desirable school.

79 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

It might be worthwhile to spend some effort trying to determine why those kids are disruptive, maybe having school counsellors who actually have mental health expertise and can find out if the kids are being abused at home or what.
I have a problem with the idea that being born into a dysfunctional family should consign someone to receiving a substandard education.

If the problem is lead poisoning or disability that’s a different story. Sort the kids who just need a stable environment from the ones who need special-ed and let the former stay in the regular schools.

80 NPW October 25, 2017 at 12:56 pm

“I have a problem with the idea that being born into a dysfunctional family should consign someone to receiving a substandard education.”

Here we agree, but where I disagree is your solution. Functional subgroups chose to move away from dysfunctional subgroups. This is almost by definition.

I agree that there is a problem, but I don’t agree that your solution to integrate dysfunctional students into functional classrooms leads to overall good.

You state that kids just need a stable environment. Ok, fine. How do you propose to do that in a free society that will not sanction the necessary government involvement? We will not remove that many kids from their mothers. We will not sterilize those who create kids without concern for their well-being. We will not issue licenses for children and terminate unlicensed births.

I agree that the situation is FUBAR. I just don’t think the solution is screwing up my daughter’s classroom is the solution, because it doesn’t actually make the problem go away.

81 Albert October 24, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Agreed, that’s a preposterous caveat, akin to “the healthiest communities are those that kick the unhealthy out”. If you ignore my poverty for a moment, I’m a rich man!

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82 Bill October 24, 2017 at 5:15 pm

+1 Bravo Hazel.

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83 A clockwork orange October 24, 2017 at 5:29 pm

To tell the stories of men and women born of passion and wit is nothing more than to witness the dramas of souls succumbed to spirit.

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84 Potato October 25, 2017 at 6:55 pm

Bill!

You claim you have a an Ivy League law degree. Goes to your credibility. I’d just like to confirm since everything you write makes me doubt that’s true.

Let’s set up a neutral arbiter (Bryan Caplan) where we can both send certified copies of our credentials. I trust him with anonymity. Please respond or I’ll start to reply to your messages. 3rd Party can vouch.

Also willing to place money on your projected outcomes.

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85 Fergal Madigan October 24, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Totally agree Hazel. Formation of exclusive groupings have the obvious knock on effects of exclusion!

It’s of course up to a specific group to decide whether to try and form an in-group. But actions have reactions. The excluded retain agency and can take steps to limit or undo their exclusion from the in-group. There are a number of reasonably well known examples from history we could point to to prove this!

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86 Dick the Butcher October 24, 2017 at 5:58 pm

The question should be ‘Is this the school district you should want?”

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87 Jeff R October 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

But social cohesion should not just be about creating an in-group that excludes everyone who reduces trust, it should be about growing the in-group to include all of the outsiders.

Says who? Please be aware that there’s a trade-off here: the bigger a particular group grows, the lower the trust level is likely to be in that group. Example: a higher percentage of people probably keep in touch with old high school classmates if their graduating class was 100 as opposed to 1000.

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88 Hazel Meade October 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

What’s so great about keeping in touch with old high school classmates?
If we’re talking about size limitation, no in-group bigger than about 200 people is going to have the same levels of trust – a large nation is never going to compare to a small tribe. That’s not much of an argument for a 200 million in-group composed of only white people over a 300 million person multi-racial group. It tells us nothing at all about social cohesion in a large multi-ethnic society.

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89 anon October 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

It is important to note that we have no option to be “a 200 million in-group composed of only white people.”

People who seem to argue for that must know it is impossible, so what is going on?

My guess is that they would rather grumble and complain as they pull things apart, because for this sort, multicultural failure is preferable to multicultural success.

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90 Hazel Meade October 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

Yes, I’ve been saying that. We have a 300 million plus person multi-ethnic society already.
Even at the time of the civil war, we’re talking 30% black population. America was never really a racially homogenous country. Nevermind the Native Americans around during colonial times who didn’t really count. You only get to this idea of a white America by ignoring large populations of non-whites who were present but not integrated into it.

So we either self-segregate into ethnic enclaves that distrust one another, or we integrate into some new whole. I can’t help thinking that option B is going to be an overall more peaceful and happy place to live.

91 anon October 25, 2017 at 12:39 pm

The quiet majority is integrating, it’s these darn alt-righters and their fellow travelers.

http://www.pewresearch.org/2010/02/01/almost-all-millennials-accept-interracial-dating-and-marriage/

92 Larry Siegel October 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

>What’s so great about keeping in touch with old high school classmates?

Social and business connections. If you went to a good high school, these are invaluable.

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93 Brett October 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

I’m a little surprised you didn’t add a “So basically Utah/Mormons” bit at the end there.

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94 Dale October 24, 2017 at 5:30 pm

The abstract makes some very strong sounding causative claims. I don’t believe their machine learning model can support such claims. There may be these associations (and I, as well as some others may not find that surprising), but why couch it in terms that these things “foster” social capital. Couldn’t they merely be consequences of social capital?

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95 IVV October 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

I suppose the real question is when it’s “better social cohesion through strong civic institutions” and when it’s “better social cohesion through policing behavior.”

Improving trust between community members is good. Breeding conformity, however, limits the space of ideas that community can generate and successfully adapt to.

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96 byomtov October 24, 2017 at 6:18 pm

So let’s see, middle to upper-middle class neighborhoods where people like to hang out together tend to be places where there are strong “labor-market networks.” Does that mean that residents help each other find jobs, or what?

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97 Ray Lopez October 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Right, and the confounding variable is past performance is an indication of future success, the opposite of what the prospectus says, aka “The Son Also Rises”. Rich white people network and stay that way.

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98 A clockwork orange October 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm

Plaider la cinquième!

Bonus Points if you know it latin!

Extra Bonus Points: Did Ray arrange his dildos in a horizontal or vertical lattice structure, I suppose it’d be both, but what were the containers made from?

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99 Christopher Walker October 24, 2017 at 11:41 pm

Are we just assuming away poor people now? Jesus…

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100 Apso October 24, 2017 at 11:51 pm

I thought they were comparing places with varying proportions of poor people. Seems like they are quite interested in them.

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101 Apso October 24, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Does a better “labor market network” mean church goers have better jobs? If so, is there so merging about these people that makes them more productive?

Agree with Tyler. I for one do not want to in a world with machine learning algorithms. Creepy.

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102 Apso October 25, 2017 at 12:00 am

“Is there something”. Sorry.

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103 Gil October 25, 2017 at 7:17 am

This seems kinda silly and the “machine learning” bit seems irrelevant. Machine learning is just multidimensional nonlinear regression.

Correlation isn’t causation and machine learning is all about correlation. The machine learning provides the correlation and the authors project the causation on top of that, adding words like “suggest” in an attempt to maintain their intellectual integrity.

As others have pointed out, the correlations are not that interesting or surprising.

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104 mhj October 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

So the machines “learned” what my parents’ generation figured out in the 1950s, except for the Republican part–but in the 1950s the Democrats still cared about the working and middle class, unlike what came later.

But beyond an example of machine learning replicating what humans do, it’s hard to see much in the way of policy insights here… it goes where Robert Putnam and Charles Murray have already gone.

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