The Growth of Justice

Justice is a key ingredient for economic growth. People will not invest if they fear that their life, liberty and property may be subject to arbitrary seizure and destruction. The rule of law and limited government provide a sphere of liberty within which individuals can make decisions with confidence that the fruits of their labor will not taken by the more powerful.

Justice is not just about legislation, however. Public and private discrimination diminish a person’s ability to individuate and develop, an ability that drives innovation and growth in the artistic, economic and scientific realms. In India the caste system binds many people to the lives of their ancestors regardless of desire, talent or will. In parts of the world half the population is subjugated and bound to a limited vision of their life, a vision which is not of their own making. Similar if less extreme forces have limited women and blacks in the United States.

In a pathbreaking paper, The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth, Jones, Hsieh, Hurst, and Klenow connect a micro allocation model to a macro growth model to estimate that the lifting of much discrimination in the United States since 1960 has had a large effect on economic growth:

In 1960, 94 percent of doctors were white men, as were 96 percent of lawyers and 86 percent of managers. By 2008, these numbers had fallen to 63, 61, and 57 percent, respectively. Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites, the allocation of talent 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 estimates the contribution to U.S. economic growth from the changing occupational allocation of white women, black men, and black women between 1960 and 2008. We find that the contribution is significant: 17 to 20 percent of growth over this period might be explained simply by the improved allocation of talent within the United States.

In other words, the United States has benefited greatly from the growth of justice.


Someone told me the other day that the growth of female doctors was considered bad in some circles, because they are less likely to work 70 hours a week for 40 years to justify society's investment in their education. Though not convincing, it was a new approach to sex discrimination.

Our department head has told grad students "don't get married and don't have kids." It's pretty telling. It's interesting how that sound advice in one place would be considered evil most everywhere else. And "society's investment" in grad students amounts to little more than some chewing gum and duct tape.

That's because becoming a tenured professor is a personal monument to monomania*; you are required to devote your entire life not just to one field but one specific research topic within a subspecialty of that field. And professors, being monomaniacs, believes their students should be monomaniacs as well.

[Present company excluded, of course, Prof. Cowen is whatever the opposite of a monomaniac is]

I think that would be 'polymath', 'autodidact', or "Renaissance Man'.

Don't get married and don't have kids, for what?! So you can go thousands of dollars in debt, fight tooth-and-nail for diminishing prospects, work for a thankless institution until they ease you out the door, and die in a nursing home begging for help from mercenary strangers who don't even speak your language?

Dear God.

One of my labmates once overheard the professor in the office next-door to his yelling at a pregnant grad student to either get an abortion or quit the program.

Sounds like the seeds of a very promising civil damages lawsuit.

"labmates," huh? Rats in a maze. And the cheese is rigged to go *SNAP*

It's an ancient point, one that was made to me in Britain in the sixties. I replied that the medical schools would therefore need to expand to teach more students. Anyway, the predicted upshot has happened - women doctors do, on average, choose to work shorter hours during their careers, presumably because of their extra responsibilities for children and then parents. And, as you'd expect, government planning for the medical schools hasn't coped very well with this entirely obvious upshot. Mind you, all government manpower planning seems to fail; I don't think there's much special about the medical profession.

At current US med-school fees etc. how big is "society's investment" in a doctor versus the persons own capital?

The point might be more valid in other countries though.

Given the limited number of med school seats, I think the bigger problem is not the monetary cost but the fact that you're taking up a spot that could've gone to someone who would be willing to put in the 70 hours a week.

Of course, the solution to this would be to let more people in med school, not work them until they drop.

An alternative solution would be to change the rules so that 40/70 hours per week aren't spent filling in paperwork, but instead used to actually deal with patients.

"Society," the US taxpayer, has footed more than 50% of the cost of a med students education for decades. We also pay the actual cost of employing the intern and the resident. We then continue to foot the bill for more than 50% of the bills generated by the private practitioner and attending physicians. We pay these practitioners, after footing the bill for half of their education, more than twice what Germany or Sweden pays for similar production.

The profession itself is has much or more to blame for restricting manpower in the US at least.

Not terribly new, it's just a rewording of a much older claim. Namely, that the majority of responsibility for keeping children and a household rests on women, not men. It takes a certain mindset to believe that men who work 70 hours a week for 40 years don't spend their whole lives neglecting their duties to their spouse and children.

Such as the mindset of someone like myself who grew up with a workaholic father.
(Note, I'm currently working while my husband is at home with the baby.)

The question is whether society ought to incentivize babies. I think yes, especially if half the genes are coming from a doctor-potential pool.

It's worth pointing out the strong effect of affirmative action policies driving these changes:

Affirmative action is also responsible for large productivity losses when more able and qualified people have been passed over for college admissions, jobs, and promotions.

The assumption in the paper that there are no ability differences (regardless of whether they are innate or not) between groups is absurd.

I've always thought it odd that Oprah's kids would get preferential treatment over the children of penniless Burmese refugees.

Moving from race-based to poverty-based preferences seems like the easiest, simplest, and best way to improve the current system. Plenty of non-whites would still get aid.

Agreed. As per Steve Hsu's "Class, Brains, and Income," only IQ matters for income growth vis a vis socioeconomic background. SEB only affects starting income. Hsu, however, did note that controlling for IQ eliminates almost all the differences between blacks and whites.

We should indeed level out initial conditions to more purely reward ability/IQ.

"Plenty of non-whites would still get aid."

But not enough American-born blacks would benefit from quotas based on socio-economic status rather than race. Believe me, this proposed reform -- replacing race with class in determining quotas, explicit or implicit -- has been simulated a thousand times, and it always ultimately gets rejected by decision-makers because African-Americans would see their number of quota spots drop sharply.

Is that logically right? That is, what are you saying? Diversification program, according to the article, improve growth compared to the status quo ante. You are making a value-based argument, which is fine, but not convincing in evidence. How much productivity is lost versus the gains cited above? Is gain by diversification a different type of gain than by strict meritocracy (which would be the question of the historical impact of bigotry on initial advantages)? You also haven't made a good explanation as to how you say the paper assumes that there are no differences between groups. The paper specifically addresses innate talent for specific professions among the groups sampled.

The article may make the claim that diversity improves economic growth but how do they know? Growth in the 60s was, after all, higher than it is now. That would be evidence for discrimination working - if there weren't other reasons for it.

It looks to me like they simply assume all racial groups are equal and so discrimination must have had a price. I don't see how you can prove that. You say they do not. Where do they address this directly?

In the end it seems a bizarre argument to me based on a flawed premise. After all, I don't think mandating that 98% of the scientists working on the Manhatten project were not Jews would have helped America build the bomb. Does anyone else?

Still the main flaw seems to be a more simple one - prison and unemployment. The Black population of the 1960s does not remotely resemble the Black population of today. Because so many young Black men are in prison for one thing. Black men were likely to be married and employed in 1960. If you take out a large number of Black men who would have been otherwise very poorly paid - and it is mainly the young and low skilled who are doing time - then you push up average wages for the rest. Hence some of the convergence. I can't see where they discuss that.

I'm glad that people realize this paper simply begs the question. If you assume diversity is good, diversity is good. But having no evidence that the new professionals are comparable to the old ones the authors find it hard to prove their point without hand waving.

They don't assume "diversity is good." They assume talent is independent of race and gender. Hence, when you make it hard or impossible for blacks or women to become, say, doctors, you have a less talented pool of doctors than you would otherwise.

That seems obviously right. A clear victory for antidiscrimination legislation.

Now apply that to US markets:

You can understand the outrage amongst citizens that reckless banks got bailed out with their tax dollars.

Meanwhile, they are suffering through a lousy post crisis recovery.

No wonder trust in institutions like markets and congress are at record lows.

>Now apply that to US **government intervention distorting the markets**: You can understand the outrage amongst citizens that reckless banks got bailed out with their tax dollars.

Reminds me of Prescott & Parente, reminds me of McCloskey. Lift silly restrictions due to our language, culture and interest groups and economic growth will increase.

On the other hand, once you formulate economic growth as resulting from something that can be described as constrained optimization, then anything that is a restriction and that is removed can be said to have contributed to that growth.

How much of that big improvement in percentages is immigrant driven?
Are white male doctors being replaced by blacks or Indians?

I suspect you are correct, but you have to understand the politics of race in America.

Depending on how the statistics are collected, Indians could be considered Asian, Other, non-white, Other, or not black or Hispanic.

Even among minority groups, some minorities are more minor than others. The categories are contrived to suit the desired narrative.

Whites don't have to be replaced or displaced. The changing composition along with natural outflow can change the composition.

1 in 32 white doctors are replaced by Indians if you believe my family lore.

Right, probably more African-Americans would be doctors today if not for being outcompeted by people whose ancestors weren't in the U.S. in 1960. So, that's one reason for all the Thumb-on-the-Scale racial preferences.

Justice ... it's kind of complicated, isn't it?

I'm sceptical. How many lawyers, doctors, and managers does the U.S. need? With managers in particular, there is a limit of the number of managerial positions that should be available given the size of the economy.

If the number of people that are needed for position x is small enough, you can restrict the position to minority group y and still fill it with talented people, as long as y is sufficiently larger than x.

Take a country where the number of adults in group y is one million and the number of positions in group z is nine million. The country needs say 100,000 scientists (or substitute any other prestige job you prefer). The chances of a random person being talented enough to do this work is one in five. Because of discrimination, its impossible for someone in the larger group, z, to become a scientist. Guess what? The dominant minority, x, is large enough to provide all the scientists required (and actually they can always import more x types through immigraiton if needed before they have to give jobs to anyone in the z group). If you work through the math, addressing talent shortages is just not a very good reason to stop discriminatory practices or monopolizations of power and positions in certain groups.

We now have a situation where there are no Protestants on the Supreme Court, but it turns out you can exclude members of the largest religious group from the Supreme Court with no obvious drop in talent. You could probably get away with excluding Protestants from the entire judiciary if you wanted too. There is just not that great a need for judges.

I also wonder if the opening of more positions to women and minority coincided with them being informally closed to white, working class men.

The effect of affirmative action for women, then the normalization of achievement based on academic ability, has been to greatly increase income disparity between households. Two professionals marry and the income differential between professional and blue collar households is magnified. So much for the cheery story.

You assume that as long as someone is talented enough to do the job there's no gain to hiring a more talented person. This seems implausible, I've noticed many differences in quality between qualified doctors.

>Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women

That's quite a "given", isn't it? Certainly contradicts a lot of well-established facts from the evolutionary sciences. They should read up on male vs female fitness variance and the effects that has when you sample from the tails of the distribution (as you would when talking about doctors and managers).

I think you might be overestimating what it takes to be an 'average' doctor or manager. The differences in ability don't get very large until you get way out there in the distributions.

What's the median MCAT score that one needs to get into med school. If there is a MCAT-IQ correlation (not hard to imagine based on published SAT-IQ correlations) how much does that translate into as the median IQ needed to get into Med School?

Of course, not Mensa level, yet I suspect you are "way out there" with respect to picking a random person off the streets.

People working in medicine have by far the highest average IQ (of the groups in the study) at ~120. That's the 91st percentile.

I guess it's hard to do much 'justice' to quantifying this stuff but looking at and the accompanying paper gives us some numbers to crunch.

MDs range from about 0.6SD to 2.2SD above the mean (109 to 133 IQ).

Here is a table (I hope this lines up) for the men/women ratio at those IQ levels and different assumptions about the % difference in variance for the normal curves:

% higher variance for men
+10% +25% +50% +200%

SD 0.6 0.93 0.85 0.73 0.39
1.3 1.05 1.08 1.06 0.71
2.2 1.38 1.91 2.56 2.86

I think the estimate for the actual difference in variances is about +25%. Looks like men probably have an edge on being the 'smarter' doctors, but it's limited. The ratios for an 'average' doctor are more or less equal. Adding in factors for what makes a good doctor besides IQ would probably soften/sharpen the ratios too, but good luck with that. I suppose you could also get into a debate about the qualifications or lack thereof of your average doctor but that should be unrelated to gender I would hope. :)

Erm, [IMG][/IMG] table here

"Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites" ...

On the MCAT, blacks average at what would be the 10th percentile of white distribution on the MCAT-Verbal, 14th percentile on MCAT-Physical Sciences, and 10th percentile on MCAT Biological Sciences.

Is the invariance of innate talents across groups really a given?

Perhaps it even is at a genetic level, yet accounting for nurture, education etc. there's no way a random black youth cohort has the same potential for being a doctor as a random white group. This is not a talent allocation issue but more of a social restructuring issue.

My thoughts exactly.

Same situation with top level management. Even if one concludes that racism and sexism were significant barriers and that we took appropriate corrective or even affirmative action, it could take 30 years to see movement in the statistics when experience, ability, and education are minimal qualifications.

Reading the paper carefully one finds that they don't actually assume that talents are the same across gender and race.

Yes, we just need more time and money to Close The Gap!

My wife HATED working for female managers. (I know, small dataset.) But there are genuine differences in the sexes, and these differences are substantial in the area of interpersonal relationships and conflict management. It would be shocking to find that certain classes of managerial positions (for instance) did not inherently fit one sex or the other.

Add to that the blatant sex and race discrimination which has been practiced under the rubric of "affirmative action", even in areas with no documented history of bias, and you should have an easy time collecting data that this injustice is hurting our economy.

Not that I don't believe what you say about how your wife feels, but I've had as many male bosses as female bosses, and the differences within the genders was far more pronounced that the differences between the genders.

One more datapoint, my experience agrees with MD.

The point of affirmative action was never to introduce fairness: The point was to build upper middle class populations, and thus inter-race commonalities, in the minority populations. It was entirely about keeping the peace. This requires payoffs.

1. I'd like to see evidence that adding lawyers beyond the numbers we already had in 1960 spurs growth. I'd have thought the increased threat of lawsuit hinders it, as it clearly is doing in Silicon Valley (a case Alex has written widely about).

2. "Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites..."
That's not a given. It is consistently (though not quite unanimously) contradicted by serious studies, which find innate talent for all sorts of professions varies widely. Those findings do not suggest anywhere near enough variance that you'd expect 96% of doctors to be white men — clearly discrimination was leaving lots of talent on the shelf — but why undermine your credibility by overstating your case and writing something that's not only wrong, but wildly and laughably wrong?

"why undermine your credibility..."

Because it is a Virtuous Article of Faith and assertions in the other direction would land them on a publishing blacklist?

I was born deep in the era when women had a limited range of jobs open to them, always with room for the occasional "exception", most of whom said "Well! I made it! That *proves* there's no discrimination!"

At any rate, the one thing this discrimination did was was to ensure that a number of highly talented people became nurses, schoolteachers, and secretaries - and a lot of smart people 'joked' that if you wanted the person who ran the place, you went to the nurse, the secretary, or in the military (different form of discrimination) the top sergeant. So there were some beneficial side effects. Where it really became a crying shame was when race was added on top of that, so you had someone of professional caliber restricted to the job of a servant.

The fact that justice is one of those hand wavy, subjective, not even worng concepts aside.... maybe the causailty goes the other way? More wealth equals more justice? What if the more primitive, and poorer a society is the less there is for women to do in the workforce?

I am just going to ignore the whole equal distribution of talent thing for the moment, as to not throw out the baby with the water.

"innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and white": do you think they're teasing?

I also wondered if that line was a Sokol-like setup.

I'm way too lazy to read a 50 page paper on something that only marginally interests me, so let me ask this question:

It's obviously easy to prove that the economy has grown since 1960 and it's easy to prove that there are more women and minorities in prestige positions, but how do the authors attempt to prove that the second fact partially created the first fact?

> In 1960, 94 percent of doctors were white men, as were 96 percent of lawyers and 86 percent of managers. By 2008, these numbers had fallen to 63, 61, and 57 percent, respectively. Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites,

The "Given" here is utter unsupported nonsense.

The Left has decided that making various ethnic groups / voting blocks feel good about themselves is more important than patient outcomes, and thus discriminates on school admissions to the detriment of competent Asians and to the benefit of incompetent African Americans.

Looking at med schools, for example, we see that the average Black med school graduate scores at a level approximately two standard deviations below white and Asian graduates.

The data is similar for lawyers, etc.

In a race blind legal regime, one can be confident that any professional is competent, regardless of skin color.

In an explicitly racist/affirmative action regime, though, prudence and hard facts dictate that in the absence of other data, if one cares about one's medical or legal outcomes, one should judge professionals in part by their skin color.

This is a horrific result, and I blame the left strongly for having created this world.

This is why, if you are in the US, you should have Jewish doctors. They are the most discriminated against so only the best of the best get in; on average they are the best choice. Asian if you can't get a Jew.

One might argue that this clear tiering by racial background is a positive side-effect, because it's a strong signal of skill for consumers, who would otherwise only rely on word-of-mouth or school reputation.

Didn't Gary Becker show this years ago?

Nowadays, a lot of talented men and women drop out of the workforce or work fewer hours to take care of their young children or their elderly parents. I wonder if there were better social support systems in place, such as day care centers with longer hours, the societal cost of such systems would be outweighed by the contribution to economic growth from the talented people who no longer have to drop out of the workforce.

The welfare state's militant secularism, high taxation, deficits and numerous other rent-seeking discourages affordable family formation, so the tax base shrinks despite a whole panoply of services and affirmative action policies designed to free up our Best and Brightest from unimportant things like caring for elderly parents and raising children. After all, what possible return could society get from close-knit, extended families who care for each other? We are trying to plug the gap with immigration on the assumption they will be net producers on the same level as the dying generations they will be taxed to support.

The modern experiment in putting men and women in head-to-head economic competition with each other and taxing young people to pay for old strangers is a time-limited one.

You seem to be a strident free-market capitalist. Economic competition is the heart of that doctrine. If you instead think of 'men and women' as 'human beings', shouldn't you be extolling their competition?

I can see how you get to the place you are at if you think of them as different species.

You sound like someone who would approve of a society based on Wahabism: men do the economic competing, women make the babies, and grandma moves in with you. The state is just a religious king.

"Free market capitalism" doesn't mean a central bank that can print its own money and act as ultimate buyer, seller and guarantor funding nuclear-armed bureaucrats and their vast social engineering schemes. The Amish, Mormons, Hasidim, Wahabbi and numerous others don't seem worried about the damage they and their wives are doing to the national economy by caring for their families. Why should you be?

As to your other point, it will indeed be ironic when, for example, atheistic feminist France becomes Muslim and patriarchal.

So we agree that you prefer the Amish/Mormon/Hasidic/Wahabbi way(s). Back to the Old Testament!

Glad that's settled.

By the way, those folks don't care about the national economy because they care only about getting into heaven.

My personal preference is irrelevant. Secular Westerners who can't reproduce themselves will be replaced.

On a related note, how long do you think local news will still be hiring dowdy, middle-aged communications majors when the fastest growing market segment tunes in to Mexican weather girls?

"Secular Westerners who can't reproduce themselves will get replaced" new secular Westerners.

Or maybe not, we might indeed end up with a Amish/Mormon/Hasidic/Wahhabi world. And who's to say that is better or worse than what we have now?

"Or maybe not, we might indeed end up with a Amish/Mormon/Hasidic/Wahhabi world. And who’s to say that is better or worse than what we have now?"


It would be worse.

No shit, Steve. I was trying to bait A-G. He seems to be a fan.

And YOU sound like someone how does not understand the difference between homo econimous and homo sapiens. Emotional well being and the size of your highly-cooperative set dramatically affect your economic potential. Both are hard to measure, and both are dramatically affected by familial relationships. Or are you going to claim that divorce is a net benefit to our economy?

Also, I think of men and women as "men and women" with, generally speaking, different biological and intellectual traits. They are not interchangeable cogs who can be firepersons or seapersons or chairpersons because we write laws that say so.

If the government would get its thumb off the scale, the job market would respond organically to inherent sexual differences, like it always has.

Men and women differ in certain matters, which I think we all understand. However in many ways they do not differ (both, obviously are human for crying out loud). If the job market there are some few jobs where one gender or the other will have an edge, but in a great many jobs there is no such edge. Deal with it.

News flash: there's always been competition between men and women. And cooperation too of course. That's life. Deal with it.

We find that the contribution is significant: 17 to 20 percent of growth over this period might be explained simply by the improved allocation of talent within the United States.

That sounds about right, but I'm not sure why they focus on blacks and women -- pretty much everyone discriminated against everyone else wherever they could, and everyone suffered. It's really just another pernicious form of rentseeking.

I think the point about blacks and women is that here in the US they were discriminated against more than whites and men were discriminated against. It was easier for my Irish forefathers to be considered white by my English forefathers (though that took time and sometimes violent conflict) than it was for people who were actually not white to be treated the same as whites.

So, without these improvements, The Great Stagnation would have been even greater? If so, by how much?

A very rapid scan of the paper reveals some possible allusions to, but no identifcation of the impacts on motivations, and the subsequents effects of alterations in motivations on the social organization and thence into economic activities.

I don't think I've ever known a doctor who worked 55 hours a week, much less 70. I would guess that the number of doctors I've known who worked 55 hours a week was limited to what I can count on one hand. And, given that I am over 60, that has been a few docs. I would bet I've known more veterinarians who put in that kind of time than docs.

It's not exactly a scientific sample, but...

My grandfather probably worked 60-70 hours/week in his small town general practice (late 1940s-late 70s) if you count everything. He was always on call. My uncle works about the same hours in his urology practice. He doesn't take a lot of vacations and usually brings dictation when he does. My brother is a 1st year medical resident - 70 hours is a light week for him. Hours played a big part in the specialty he chose.

if you're looking at interns and residents, then yes, they work a lot of hours:

Even for older docs, you are likely to be thinking of their office hours, not their work hours. Depending on their practice, you may need to add hospital rounds twice a day, paperwork after the office closes, the patients' phone calls at three in the morning, studying and testing for continued accreditation, and so forth.

I worked 38 out of the last 40 days. My shifts are 9 hours long. I think that works out to about 60 hours a week. That was an unusually long string, but 55 hrs/wk is a reasonable average. There are other docs of my acquaintance who work much harder.

Your experience may be different if you are only acquainted with VA, Kaiser or Mayo employee types who don't have an ownership stake in their practice.

Which brings up another point. If the levelers and redistributionists ever get their way, and the marginal tax rates on folks in the $250k-$500k bracket climb into the 60+ percent range, I will refuse to continue to spend this much time away from my family. I will walk out the door, and devil take the public that voted to make me a slave and a donkey.

And yet East Asians have been doing as well as ever, despite increasing discrimination against them in favor of blacks and latinos via affirmative action. Pesky Asians, ruining our narratives.

I suspect visas hurt East Asians more than Affirmative Action.

Perhaps, but I had East Asian Americans in mind.

i wonder if tim cook is rethinking apple's server farm/data center/cloud computing in NC... - "gay couples must live in fear of retaining joint custody of children, access to hospital rooms, health insurance, and on and on"

you can also see the 'new institutionalism' creeping into the conservative (intelligentsia) debate

and of course not to be remiss

I just don't know what we'll do if 5% of the population with high disease rates, lowered life span, and zero TFR can't marry each other.

Well, since it is clearly so insignificant, there's no reason not to let them marry each other.

you ever hear of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"?

And what is broke should be fixed.

It's a piece of rancid propaganda that gays have shorter life spans. There's no reliable way to even derive such a statistic, since public records (e.g., death certificates) do not record sexual orientation. That piece of garbage has metastiized all over the homophobic fringe right from a "study" by a certain charlatan named Paul Cameron, a man of such utter dishonesty in his "professional" work that if he said 2+2=4 you would be well advised to check it out on a spreadsheet first.

But even if it is true, so what? We do know that men have shorter life expectancies than women, and blacks less than whites-- is that an excuse to discriminate against (let alone hate) either men or black people?

alan turing helped win the war, just sayin'...

It's also worth noting that after the war, he was hideously abused and charged with a crime. Even though he's been dead for a while, Her Majesty's government declined to
grant Turing a pardon. The best could offer was "Hey bro, I'm sorry we hounded you into killing yourself." from Gordon Brown. Do you think Sharpton et al would accept that
in lieu of reparations?

"This paper estimates the contribution to U.S. economic growth from the changing occupational allocation of white women, black men, and black women between 1960 and 2008. We find that the contribution is significant: 17 to 20 percent of growth over this period might be explained simply by the improved allocation of talent within the United States."

Surely, they then go on to estimate how much economic growth has been hurt over the period 1970-2008 by worsened allocation of talent within the United States due to quotas, explicit or implicit (caused by the threat of disparate impact discrimination lawsuits), right?

"Surely, they then go on to estimate how much economic growth has been hurt over the period 1970-2008 by worsened allocation of talent within the United States due to quotas, explicit or implicit (caused by the threat of disparate impact discrimination lawsuits), right?"

Your statement assumes that quotas are automatically a source of economic inefficiency, implying that talent does not or cannot exist to an equal extent among white males, white women, black men, and black women.

"Your statement assumes that quotas are automatically a source of economic inefficiency, implying that talent does not or cannot exist to an equal extent among white males, white women, black men, and black women."

Sailer's assumption is correct. It's backed up by tons of data. For example, general intelligence is both the best single predictor of job performance and unequally distributed between racial groups. There are substantial racial differences in job performance, with blacks in particular underperforming compared to whites in similar jobs, indicating that racial preferences have led to a suboptimal allocation of talent.

Justice depends on limited government, and good economic growth depends on justice, so the expansionist jack boot big government intervention of the civil rights acts in the 1960s forced greater justice which increased economic growth??

Yes, I think we had the same reaction to this post. How are the "rule of law" and "justice" artifacts of "limited government," particularly regarding the modern American civil rights movement? Apparently to this day Sen. Rand Paul feels the suffocating hand of the federal government squeezing the liberty out of him every time he walks into a restaurant in Kentucky and sees black people eating next to the white folk. It takes quite a feat of intellectual acrobatics to conclude that "limited government" produced such changes.

In a normal market, competition fosters all sorts of good things. Limiting professions to one gender and certain races decreases competition, whether that limiting is done through legal or social sanctions. It's elementary that society has benefited from drawing from a larger talent pool for important professions like doctors and lawyers.

The hand waving from this blog's resident six racists and sexists in the comments is totally predictable, but it's worth pointing out how contrary it is to the economics those commenters normally profess. A very particular type of lemon socialism: competition when it helps white men, as little competition as possible when it doesn't.

Boom goes the dynamite.

"It’s elementary that society has benefited from drawing from a larger talent pool for important professions like doctors and lawyers."

Let us leave aside the question whether the USA really needs more lawyers...

Your "elementary" observation holds if and only if the drawing is meritocratic. If some of the elements of the talent pool are penalized (say, by affirmative action), this isn't so.

Excuse me, but are seriously claiming that the "drawing" was more meritocratic in 1960 than in 2008? Really?

Whatever you think about affirmative action, etc., that claim is just ridiculous.

I agree it would be a mistake to limit competition to one gender. But it does not follow that affirmative action makes things any better. Take, for instance, that leading Native American legal academic, Elizabeth Warren. She is, I believe, the only member of the Harvard Law School who did not go to Harvard or a similar ranked college. She is, by all accounts, mediocre as thinkers go. She went to Rutgers (Newark).

In other words she has affirmative action written all over her. Now that means she displaced someone who did go to a better law school, someone whose scholarship is vastly superior - and it is not as if there is a shortage of candidates.

So are we all better off because she got the gig? Well if the problem is healing the wounds of the past, perhaps. But if the aim is better education and legal research, no, not by any means.

Limiting the field to anyone but White males is often not a good idea either. Especially as it is so dishonest. If you want a representative student body then the "White" category should, in the interests of justice, be refined a little. People who believe this tripe ought to remove Ashkenazi Jews and hold their numbers down to their representation in the general population. At present they get to "hide" among all the West Virginian coal miners' sons. Do you support that? If not, why not?

Now economic growth has been lower lately than it was in the 1960s. It is a big call to say that discrimination had much of a role. It is hard to claim the present system works better.

First, there's no evidence that Elizabeth Warren's ancestry was the decisive factor, or a factor at all, in her hiring for any job, ever. Second, as the child of parents who did not attend an Ivy League school, she was a victim of legacy admissions, twice in fact as prestigious law schools take students from prestigious colleges in disproportionate number. As long as schools retain their prerogative to violate pure meritocracy by favoring legacies and children of the well-connected (among others), there's no special need to defend programs that help students who come from less privileged backgrounds. And schools will always retain that prerogative.

Sure. It is a total coincidence that when Harvard Law came under pressure over minorities hires, they hired someone who claimed to be a minority - who happens to be the only member of staff who did not go to Harvard.

How do you know she was a victim of legacies? Obviously legacies, if they could be bothered to work, are just the sort of people who get into college. On top of which their parents may have given enough money one way or another to create more places than the one they took - unlike most Affirmative Action hires. Colleges admit legacies for good financial reasons after all.

So you have no reason to think for one second that anyone is cheated by present admissions policies. Except in so far as it applies to weak candidates with poor academic records who are admitted for AA reasons. Which may or may not include Obama as well as Warren.

Dispositive evidence certainly exists, if Warren and Harvard would allow it to be seen. She could have this cleared up by tomorrow afternoon if she called on Harvard to release her employee file, as Scott Brown has done with his service records. That she has not done so tells me all I need to know about her. She is a liar and a fraud, unworthy for any position of public trust.

ya know, a lot of women were perfectly content being housewives before 1970, despite feminists' bleatings. and a lot of blacks prefer one kind of work over another. legal and social sanctions are not the only reasons, or even the primary reasons, why some professions were tilted heavily male and/or white.

Also, Steve Sailer, what is it that you actually want? You comment here all the time, banging your drum on the same subjects over and over, even if they're irrelevant to the topic (this year's Clark Medal = talk about Jews? really?).

Do you want a return to Jim Crow? The imposition of apartheid style policies, ethnic homelands, and the exclusion of racial minorities from American citizenship? Full scale state sponsored genocide of African-Americans and Hispanics? What is it you want? For someone who posts all the time, you never seem to actually get to the point. It's utter cowardice. Why don't you say what it is you want, instead of just bitching all the time.

Also, by the way, you are the typing embodiment of Winston Churchill's definition of a fanatic.

He's been fairly explicit about a "citizenist" ideology elsewhere. And he's also said that MLK was one of the South's greatest benefactors, along with the inventor of air-conditioning.

Dear Chet:

For the last decade or so, this is what it says at the top of

Live not by lies. - Solzhenitsyn
To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle. - Orwell
Knowledge is good. - Animal House
Truth is better for humanity than ignorance, lies, or spin. And it's more interesting. - Sailer

That's what I want: More open, intelligent, informed, and honest public discourse.

Dear Chet:

What are you in favor of? I mean, besides ignorance, lies, and wishful thinking?

Steve, let me put it like this. If you came across a blogger who devoted a huge amount of their time to writing about the pathologies of men (or white men), who looked for stories to comment on from a male-bashing perspective (even on other blogs), who brought anti-male sentiment to stories where that wasn't an obvious point to make about men, I think it's obvious that you'd find that blogger to be axe grinding and prejudiced in a way that obscured truth more than not, even if every single point referenced a statistic or factual event. "Hey", you'd think, "I was never charged with murder in Tennessee (to pick a story in the news). Even though that event did actually happen, it has nothing to do with me. Why is this blogger viewing me through the lens of an extreme example, when I'm my own person? It seems like they are arguing in bad faith."

In case no one told you, the above is what you do all the time.

I just want to go on record as someone who likes this blog but who is aggravated with the combination of your ubiquity and your propensity to blame racial minorities or Jews for almost every problem you feel worthy of comment and your use of statistics in a way designed to spur racial prejudice. Like I said, if someone kept pumping out stories and commentary on bad things done by "men qua men", you know what the practical effect would be on how people saw you and people who look like you.

"your use of statistics in a way designed to spur racial prejudice."


save it for the faculty lounge, uncle tim.

I have never seen Sailer *blame* Jews for anything. To the extent he singles them out at all, it is to take dispassionate note of their collective two to three sigma IQ advantage over the rest of us, to explore the biological and cultural origins of that striking difference, and to examine its effects on society. Perhaps some Jews may be uncomfortable about being the objects of such scrutiny, but they should get over it. He holds no hatred for them or anyone else.

chet knew that was the answer. he's just a hyperbolic scumbag scoring moral preening points for the benefit of his status whoring audience.

There's a flaw (fly) in the apriori (ointment): "Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites,"

But "innate talent" is not measurable. Actual talent is. And whites score better (due to nutrition, not genetics) than blacks do. And for similar societal reasons and possibly biological reasons (see J. Sachs), the best scientists are often men (Rosa Franklin excepted). These are facts, not eugenics.

So by excluding white men from becoming scientists, you would actually get worse results in the short term. If you disagree with the facts. So how then can you realize the "innate" talent, without 'affirmative action" that excludes white men?

A better solution: expand the supply of talent by lowering the standards: the barriers of entry. Let anybody become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist. Let the market, not government, regulate the quacks, charlatans and snake-oil salesmen. This would really expand output, more so than promoting one race over the other.

"And whites score better (due to nutrition, not genetics) than blacks do."

This is actually a serious open question in anthropology, not settled science. Hard to measure and also a very politically loaded one, so it is unlikely to be solved soon. Taking a strong stand like you seem to do indicates faith, not scientific approach.

Note that with actual physical differences, the science is settled in the other direction. Anthropologists know fairly positively that things like racial differences between sprinters are genetic (different muscle structures), and even though once can improve or worsen their sprinting results by training and correct nurture, the genetic difference still plays crucial role at the top of the ladder (say, Olympic games).

You saying blacks can't swim? Racism noted. But more seriously, my point is that poor people in general are dumber, as evidenced by anybody who has spent with them knows. YOUR bias noted if you disagree. But we can agree to disagree. My post BTW was that opening up supply will solve the problem without the need for racial quotas. I'm not sure btw racial quotas were part of the original article, but I'm introducing the issue.

Stopwatches can't be racist. Of the 80 men who have run 100 meters under 10 seconds, only one of them is not of West African descent.

"And whites score better (due to nutrition, not genetics) than blacks do."

Nutrition!? I don't think any serious researcher these days would argue that nutrition is an important cause of the black-white gap. Today's African-Americans do no exhibit signs of malnutrition, such as stunted growth. Moreover, the performance of blacks from privileged backgrounds is not better than that of whites from deprived backgrounds (see this SAT chart).

"Racism noted."

Ooh, good one!

Given that innate talent for these professions is unlikely to differ between men and women or between blacks and whites

This stuff is becoming a shibboleth of sorts: "Hello, we are not really serious, and we will ignore every fact relevant to the issue at hands - no point in further reading of our paper if you get what we mean".

this study is worthless because it rests on a false premise.

ps keeping them chalupas cheap since 2003!

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