William Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton advising the Democratic Party

Here is the opening of a Jacob M. Schlesinger Wall Street Journal piece:

For decades, William Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton toiled in obscurity. They criticized mainstream economists and politicians for failing to address racial inequality, and touted more radical remedies of their own.

Now, with the 2020 presidential campaign under way and liberal Democrats ascendant, the two economists are in the spotlight, thrust into the middle of an intraparty debate over how much to embrace big government and a race-oriented message.

Their signature ideas—guaranteed jobs for all adult Americans seeking them, government-backed trust funds for American babies and reparations for slave descendants—are being talked about on the campaign trail and, in the case of reparations, during a raucous congressional hearing in June.

The two African-American economists’ theories on “stratification economics,” which focuses on economic gaps between whites and blacks, have helped shape the rhetoric and platforms of several candidates.

At a conference earlier this year for liberal activists, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker told Mr. Hamilton he had “laid the foundation for a lot of things that we’re doing,” including “baby bonds.” Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke name-checks Mr. Hamilton in television interviews, calling him an “extraordinary economist” who “talks about a more conscious capitalism.”

Mr. Hamilton, an Ohio State University professor, has advised the campaigns of California Sen. Kamala Harris on middle-class tax cuts, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on job guarantees and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on student-debt relief.

And this section:

They have teamed up to write more than 50 articles for academic and popular journals and books, and pioneered what they consider a new field of scholarship they branded stratification economics. They contend that mainstream economists tend to regard racial discrimination as a short-term market glitch that market forces will correct eventually. That logic, they say, leads to the conclusion that persistent African-American woes result mainly from their own failings, such as inadequate education or poor financial choices.

Policy makers, they contend, focus too much on employment, income and education and not enough on family wealth across generations. They say wealth is a better measure of household economic security—the ability to weather emergencies, pay for education, afford homes in good neighborhoods and take risks.

The racial wealth gap accumulated over years, they say, stoked not just by slavery but by 20th-century policies that helped whites and marginalized African-Americans.

I hope you subscribe or can get through the gate, as there are many meaty sections.  One interesting angle, of course, is whether their claims and theories are true.  But most of all this piece, and their role as advisers, marks the end of an era, namely that of mainstream consensus technocracy.  The range of ideas being considered in politics today is remarkably wider than just a few years ago, for better or worse.  And, whether we like to admit it or not, the academic world also will follow rather than just lead this process.  If a plausible candidate pops up and starts making claims, especially on the Democratic side, the academic research supporting those claims will rise in status.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Addendum: Here are links for Darity, here are links for Hamilton.


File under "Arnold Kling's 'Road to Sociology Watch.'"

So these jobs are guaranteed? You cant fire them? At least not for performance.

holy sh*t that is going to be one one worthless bunch of misfits. Miserable to boot.

Yeah, it's clown world over with the Dems now. They tried this in the Soviet Union. Didn't work out so well.

The problem with this type of economics is that it assumes away culture and approaches these dilemmas like an engineer would. These sorts of policies would ruin the atmosphere at any place of work.

I use to work for the dept of labor and the place was 100 percent gloomy and bitter. Everyone hated being there. There were people who were eager to work, but you just couldn't get anything done because 50 percent dragged their feet. Every time you gave someone a 3 hour task they almost immediately thought about how they can stretch it out into a 4 day affair. As a supervisor you had to play the game and constantly correct their behavior. You could not just tell someone to roll up their sleeves and figure things out. I started to build a portfolio of incompetence on certain employees and when I finally thought I had them boxed in and could prove they were a grade A lazy morons, they always had the same response and said "You never trained me how to do this." This was the response for everything, from manually entering data to even showing up on time. I literally had to have a series of meetings with HR the EO office about how I never trained my employees to show up on time. I had proof that they only were present in the office for a total of 34 hours a week (and probably only worked maybe 18) yet I was partially responsible for their poor performance because I "failed to clearly instruct my employees on how to be punctual."

At least there was some sort of filter at the dept of labor. Now it is anyone who wants to show up.

+1 that matches my experience in a blue collar government job when I was in college.
I also had a some amazingly lazy and bad teachers in Government schools. Of course the Government schools work OK because to many teachers it a calling that they love, and so are dedicated to doing a good job even though they do not have to, but the blue collar staff in schools was generally awful.
Which BTW is why I think the schools sell the buildings to REIT and rent. The cafeterias should be outsourced somehow also.

Yes, it seems to me to be a very bad idea and you'd need a large bureaucracy to run it. An NIT or an hourly wage subsidy seem much better.

"an hourly wage subsidy seem much better."

Much, much better. But of course, there would be some people who still couldn't keep a job.

I don't have access to the article, but I think it certainly works to hire anyone, fire some. If you want to be generous you can give two more chances after that.

These would basically be litter pick up, tree planting, jobs.

I would not have a problem with them priced minimum wage - $0.50/hr.

*If a plausible candidate pops up and starts making claims, especially on the Democratic side, the academic research supporting those claims will rise in status.*

Right wing economics has been doing this for the last forty years.

The best thing about majoring in STEM is there is none of this left-wing, right-wing nonsense. There's no left-wing math, right-wing physics, liberal chemical engineering, or conservative chemistry. Kids, that's how you know you are getting your money's worth. If your field has such political labels, then understand it is all about mood affiliation masquerading as a science.

The idea that the S in STEM is always across all fields apolitical is widespread, if misguided. To think the T or E in STEM exist outside of politics is just naive.

What's "true" is generally a little more grounded, but there are certainly "trends" in what can get funded .. in the private or public sectors.

We didn't really *need* all those Bitcoins.

Try getting funding for, or publication of results of, investigation of solar activity as the driver of climate vs. human Industrial age activity as the driver.

How could you possibly be serious?

Flying in a 645 km, 40 degree orbit, SORCE is operated by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado. It will continue the precise measurements of total solar irradiance that began with the ERB instrument in 1979 and has continued to the present with the ACRIM series of measurements. SORCE will also provide the measurements of the solar spectral irradiance from 1 nm to 2000 nm, accounting for 95 % of the spectral contribution to the total solar irradiance. SORCE carries four instruments including the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM), Solar Stellar Irradiance Comparison Experiment (SOLSTICE), Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SIM), and the XUV Photometer System (XPS).

Yes, solar irradiance is studied, no one said otherwise. But as Engineer says, it's contribution to AGW is often belittled.

NASA doesn't belittle it at all:


An overall positive article, but "In recent years, researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming. After all, the sun is the main source of heat for our planet. The NRC report suggests, however, that the influence of solar variability is more regional than global. "

And: "This fits in with the conclusion of the IPCC and previous NRC reports that solar variability is NOT the cause of global warming over the last 50 years."

So should I say downplaying, rather than belittle, at least for this article? And maybe even rightly so, but there are physicists who really believe solar cycles are the dominant cause for the warming, but there is little funding for research that doesn't find a human cause.

Actually the recent data on solar radiation is that it should be leading us to cooling, not warming. It may be that the slowdown in radiation is ehy there was a slowdown in global warming during the noughties, but that turned around and warming again predominated.

The problem for all those touting supposedly natural reasons for our current warming is that to the extent any changes are happening with them, which is not the case for most of them, they are in the direction that would indicate global cooling, not warming. This is one of the most important reasons to think that indeed a substantial part of our current warming is anthropogenic.

I have sympathy on the argument against irradiance. But would like a double-check

The GCM's still lack predictive power though and are biased upwards. Two busted theories don't make a successful one.

> "The best thing about majoring in STEM is there is none of this left-wing, right-wing nonsense. There's no left-wing math, right-wing physics, liberal chemical engineering, or conservative chemistry."

Deutsche Physik

All things will be possible in a post-end-of-history world.

Campuses will surely retain their monopoly on handing out the credentials that make a STEM career possible... and who controls the campuses?

Alone among STEM fields, software development currently has an alternate "boot camp" path to a career, but that could very easily be closed off by claiming that it needs the rigor of an engineering discipline.

Yeah, this all reeks of the uncritical adoption of the "oppressor-oppressed framework" that has rendered most of the social sciences useless, with zeal and no room for dissent, neglecting the differences that averages conceal (Cochrane's big no-no) with activism masquerading as academics.

Economics is a very prestigious social science that commands its own Nobel Prize. It is not a mere social science but the premiere science of society and group psychology. With mastery of the field, I know how you think, how others think, how society thinks, how the whole world thinks. There is no other scholarly pursuit that has achieved what economics has. There is a reason why Heads of State and large successful companies seek the counsel of economists.

Or failed as spectacularly....

Did tax cuts since 1985 account for any failures?

"Economics is a very prestigious social science ...": make up your mind - is it prestigious or a social science?

"that commands its own Nobel Prize": no it doesn't. It has a counterfeit prize as a mark of its Physics Envy.

You can tell this person isn't an economist PhD because we're all quite unhappy with our profession :)

Although we do typically have the benefit of having *coherent* criticisms.

I'm not familiar with stratification economics. Looking at wealth and for that matter social capital seems like a solid idea, well within standard neoclassical bounds. However their policy recommendations seem less so.

It's reminiscent of the strange policy recommendations of the MMT people.

IIRC Tyler has tried to contest that the claim that American politics has become more polarized and divisive. The claim however seems solid to me, and that polarization is now showing up in economics, both micro and macro.

If the common good has an Achilles heel, polarization nails it.

Agreed; polarisation is spreading.

Though it might be more accurate to say "crazy left wing thought is spreading". These sciences and social sciences are not being invaded by increasing right-wing memes.

There are plenty of statistical studies that quantify the asymmetrical polarization the other way. I'd be open to more data if you want to link it.


It has long been Tyler's pessimism that right wing craziness would lead to a left wing craziness in response. I think the left have largely kept a lid on that. You have to be a Democratic Primary news junkie to really even know about these new divisions, and the more extreme plans.

And remember, we are still a republic. Congress still rules. If the Democrats did become a bit more radical, what could they do? The Senate will remain an antidemocratic force for Republicans until the next constitutional convention.

In the worst case we have executive orders on, executive orders off, as presidents change. Exciting perhaps, but not far from gridlock.

Not this junk again. Your study starts from the assumption that the New York Time is "mainstream" and Republicans are more polarizing because they quote it less. Somehow the New York Times is the political center in spite of having greater than a fivefold bias towards Democrats when it comes to their political contributions (and spot checking their donations shows most of the Republicans are about as far left as a Republican can go and still be elected). They call the Wall Street Journal "center right", yet the single most common 2016 candidate for Journal employees to donate towards was ... Bernie. Second most common was Clinton.

When you define organizations that are at least twice as Democratic as the country in general as the center (or center right), of course you are going to show right wing polarization.

The truth is that the Republican party's platform has been remarkably consistent up through at least 2016. They were for low taxes, against abortion, and wanted a strong military in the 80s and still want that today. They maintain that regulation is generally harmful, that patriotism is good, healthcare should not be socialized, and that Christian morality is the baseline for the country. Arguably, the Republican platform has gotten more conservative on things like immigration and international relations.

In contrast the Democratic party evolved leftward continuously. Clinton lurched left on gay rights and passed through "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". We had very degrees of evasion during the Bush II era, but slowly the Democrats centered in on repealing DADT. Gay marriage of course has also been a shifting target. In '96 a majority of Democrats in both houses passed DOMA. In the 2000s we began to see the beginnings of serious Democratic support for civil unions. All the way up until 2012 the formal position of the Democratic presidential nominee was against gay marriage. Now the position is that government compulsion should be used to make people "participate" in such marriages. And on it goes. We have gone from abortion being "safe, legal, and rare" to something to "shout" and that must needs to funded from the public purse.

More fundamentally, old school Democrats were just a bit opposed to group rights and rhetoric. Boycotts and blacklists were something they accused Republicans of being divisive for supporting. These days, even left wing comics mock the extremes of intersectionality and political correctness that has overrun the Democratic party. You do not need to listen to Inslee talk about abortion rights for biological males to get that the Democratic party has now adopted a multitude of extremely left wing positions from a half-generation ago.

Not this junk again. I link to study by the Columbia Journalism Review, and you say:

When you define organizations that are at least twice as Democratic as the country in general as the center (or center right), of course you are going to show right wing polarization.

I certainly didn't. And I see no math or data to show that the CJR did. I just see a rant.

Setting aside whether it’s accurate, that is...exactly how the study was done.

Did you just take the headline and post the npr link?

Jesus Christ dude.

His claim is that the NYT is "twice as Democratic as the country in general."

That's not supported by the CJR data, or any data I am aware of.

anon : [ NYT is not wildly pro-Democrat ]

Ladies and Gentlemen, the prosecution rests.

Notice that Alistair did that without data.


In reality the NYT skews slightly liberal.

Seriously? I mean, seriously?

You're now quoting as EVIDENCE a reference which is essential a BLOG POST by some nonentity called "Vanessa"? Where the methodology is....well, there isn't a methodology; she just puts news sources where she feelz they belong. On an incommensurate chart without metrics, criteria or definitions.

Is this what passes for data and analysis in Democrat Clown World now? I strongly encourage people to look at the above link, and then weight anonymous' contributions accordingly. It's Trollicious.

This does sum up the quality of the story you link to: "I would quote from the Trump story, but that would require me to read it."

More lies from you. I read the link and underlying study. No mention of the supposed polarization on the right and not the left. Not one mention. There are a lot of studies out there that actually study the opinions of Dems and Reps over time and they are unanimous in stating that the Dem party moved strongly to the left while the Rep party moved subtly if at all to the right in response. Stop trying to muddy the waters with your garbage,

Use of disinformation by partisan media sources is neither new nor limited to the right wing, but the insulation of the partisan right-wing media from traditional journalistic media sources, and the vehemence of its attacks on journalism in common cause with a similarly outspoken president, is new and distinctive.

You are part of that. Right here.

I will see your claim and raise you one study approvingly quoted by some dude named Paul Krugman....


That's a deeply, deeply, depressing link. Incoherent rubbish dressed up in the clothes of text analysis.

In this "Manifest Project"; the code "primitives" are not primitive, the coding relationship is ontologically imprecise, the coding relationship categories are arbitrary, the coding relationship of primitives to categories is not exclusive, the actual coding itself is highly questionable (and not tested for consistency), the mapping of categories to left-right dimensionality is arbitrary (actual, laughable), and the final left-right score doesn't even look like it is controlled for simple 'effing text length, let alone the dimensionality of the data.

In the work of academics like this "Thomas Greven" we see "scientists" who think they are clever and unbiased but couldn't tell you the difference between a median and mean and don't see their own wandering hand at work. They have no idea how to code text data properly.

In practise, it's tribal affiliation dressed up to look like serious science, but it's junk all the way down. Jeez. What a mess.

The CJR did not calibrate the outlets to the American electorate. Going by the hard data. Of federal campaign contributions where donations listed employers, 78% of NYT employees opted for Democrats. Of the 15% that went to Republicans, the Candidates to who it was given were Rob Portman (the first Republican to endorse gay marriage) and Rudy Guilianni (back when he was running as one of the most liberal presidential contenders for the Republican party).

All of this is just data from campaign contributions. In America, on average, every Republican donor is matched with a Democratic donor. Having a 5:1 Democrat to Republican skew puts you well left of center.

Other fun measures:

Since 1960, the NYT has endorsed every single Democrat to run. This includes nominees like McGovern and Mondale who proved to be far left of the median American voter. The official politics of the NYT is decidedly more liberal than that of the country.

Per Gallop, 64% of Americans believe that the Media (with the NYT used an example) is "too liberal".

And then of course you have the telling small little things, like how the New York Times, repeatedly, has errors of basic Christian doctrine (beliefs shared by ~70% of Americans) stated by its reporters, missed by its editors, and sometimes even marred during the retraction. This suggests that their worldview is far from the central position of American life.

Likewise, the Times is written by New Yorkers, which given recent voting patterns would shocking put them at least 5:1 Democrat : Republican and hence vastly more liberal the median of the country.

If you are measuring polarization, you need a zero point that is actually at the median voter. The Wall St. Journal is not "right of center" for American politics; it is left of the American center. The CJR elected not to properly calibrate their instrument, so shockingly it provides garbage output. When measuring how far something has deviated from the median, it helps to actually have the median measured correctly.

+1 for, you know, actual hard data.

+1 again for lesson in building basic sociological instruments.

What's notable in all these exchanges is that anonymous doesn't understand statistics. Bit embarrassing for an Econ blog...

Rising to the bait here, but ok, let's dance, Anon.


There you go; nearly all the polarisation gap is explained by Dems moving left, not Republicans moving right. As Sure stated above.

It's also hilarious (and an argument against yourself) that you quote NYT as neutral despite massive readership and contributor skew to Dems.

This is exactly your problem; Anon, you genuinely can't see - can't even imagine - that your worldview isn't universally shared by all correct-thinking people. You don't even look for discomfimatory evidence, let alone try to establish consistent metrics over time.

You have severe epistemic closure issues.

I am aware of this study, and a few others of this vintage. I purposely did not cite anything from before 2016.

Now, if we are going to do something better than name calling ("This is exactly your problem" etc), you could make a pendulum argument, that the country did move left in the Obama years, before the whole alt-right spasm and reaction.

I am talking about more recent history.

Your study: "The CJR study, by scholars at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, at Harvard Law School, and the MIT Center for Civic Media, examined more than 1.25 million articles between April 1, 2015, and Election Day"

Basically a snapshot of 2015-2016 and has nothing to do with polarization. It only studies whether media outlets are left wing or right wing. If you have a study showing polarization changes between 2016 and now please link it. Because over the last 20 years the Dem party has moved massively to the left but you're trying to play hide the ball and elide that.

You guys have given me enough to chuckle about now .. what happened between April 1, 2015, and Election Day has nothing to do with polarization.

Ok, sure.

Not right wing polarization anyways. What happened in 2016? The republicans elected a democrat as president, and even then, he's to far right for the left wingers.

For what it's worth, here is another recent study. Note "slightly" vs "substantially" -

Social media sites are often blamed for exacerbating political polarization by creating “echo chambers” that prevent people from being exposed to information that contradicts their preexisting beliefs. We conducted a field experiment that offered a large group of Democrats and Republicans financial compensation to follow bots that retweeted messages by elected officials and opinion leaders with opposing political views. Republican participants expressed substantially more conservative views after following a liberal Twitter bot, whereas Democrats’ attitudes became slightly more liberal after following a conservative Twitter bot—although this effect was not statistically significant. Despite several limitations, this study has important implications for the emerging field of computational social science and ongoing efforts to reduce political polarization online.


I prefer to note "not significantly". i.e. no evidence of disparate effect.

And you've not addressed the Pew Study, which is the only thing in this laundry list of references which actually, you know - measures polarisation on a constant scale over time. Your references simply don't answer the question about value/policy polarisation - they just elide and measure your feelings/media consumption/whatever.

Yeah, so disregard Pew because its 2016; because 23 years of observable trend has clearly stopped and reversed in the last 3.

While we are on this stuff, did you see the increasing body of material about Dems being more prejudiced against Republicans than vice-versa? Not by much, but by significant amounts. If I went through life convinced of my own moral superiority and tolerance, that sort of thing would give me pause. Bet it won't stop you though.

Buddy, this is the week that the President of the United States told Congressmembers with dark skin to go back to their own countries.

Of course you want to talk about 2014.

I think the problem is their crappy attitude, not their dark skin. Rashida Jones has similar skin and I'm fine with her staying right here.

For a guy who doesn't believe in race, it sure is all about race with you.

Isn't AOC a wealthy white from Westchester, NY? One of the wealthiest and whitest parts of NY? She is a classic example of a progressive, wealthy, white, generally ignorant.

The problem with "wealth of family headed by education and achievement level x" and then imputing any residual differences to racially biased policy should be obvious.

Namely, if you're a household head who is a +outlier to your parents, and your sons and daughters are -outliers to you, and your spouse is an -outlier to you.... then you'll have lower wealth over time.

And because Blacks have a lower population mean of education and most characteristics that predict income, that is more likely to be the case.

You can't look at multi generational accumulation of wealth through the lens of one family member's achievement level, for obvious reasons.

“One interesting angle, of course, is whether their claims and theories are true. But most of all this piece, and their role as advisers, marks the end of an era, namely that of mainstream consensus technocracy. The range of ideas being considered in politics today is remarkably wider than just a few years ago, for better or worse. And, whether we like to admit it or not, the academic world also will follow rather than just lead this process. ”

One interesting angle, of course, is whether anyone’s economic claims and theories are true. That’s why the academic world will follow rather than lead this process. People have seen what the academic world has had to offer and they’re not impressed. Yes, it’s nice that economics exists but it would be better if it were able to predict anything.

At least Darrity jr and Hamilton are using reality to inform their model. If they turn out to be wrong half the time it would still be an upgrade over models that claim that slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, zoning, racism, subprime lending, etc... had little to no impact on the economics of African American communities in the US.

"it would be better if it were able to predict anything"

Just trolling, I assume?

"If they turn out to be wrong half the time it would still be an upgrade over models that claim that slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, zoning, racism, subprime lending, etc... had little to no impact on the economics of African American communities in the US."

Maybe? Subprime lending, lol

I don't really think you can jam slavery and subprime lending in a phrase as if these are equally likely to have had a negative effect on Black Americans.

Subprime lending may have had a positive economic effect (that's the argument under which the federal mandate underlying subprime was made).

Darity Jr and Hamilton might well be far less than half right (and rather instead wrong) where state policy may well have been recently net beneficial to Black wealth (above what it would have otherwise been some counterfactual with "minimal" government policy, though how such a thing could be known I do not know).

The fact that African-Americans are the poorest Americans but the richest Africans can't possibly be due to the choices, behaviors, or natures of African-Americans.

Why not?

Because that would be racist.

Therefore, give us your money.

African Americans aren’t Africans.
Comparing standards of living in the US to that of just about any country in the world would lead you to the same conclusions you’re drawing about African Americans.

In fact, Africans who make it to the US actually outperform natives, including Whites. So much for the idea that there’s something inherent to African Americans that leads to the current economic outcomes. And even if that were to be the case (let’s forget about colonialism, neocolonialism and the Cold War’s impacts on African affairs), where is the massive wealth transfer from African Americans to Whites accounted for in economic models? Again, Slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, etc..

Again, what have current economic theories been able to predict?


Didn't make the assumptions that African immigrants to the US are drawn from the overall population of African IQs, did you?

Ooops. That was silly.

The more you try to deny the explanatory variable, the more you inadvertently draw attention to it.

That's an interesting response, since people keep citing the self-selected population of Asian and Jewish immigrants doing better than American blacks as evidence for the inferiority of blacks. And yet, self-selected Africans also do well. So perhaps the difference is merely that slaves aren't self-selected, and immigrants are.

It's a point that's worth expanding, Hazel.

Generally, the greater the immigration difficulty in reaching a destination (including legal difficulty), the more immigrant IQ skews to the upper part of the source population. Distance is a fairly good proxy for difficulty. It also selects strongly for conscientiousness / self-authorship.

Legal immigration status also tends to strongly select for higher IQ's relative to illegal (easier to clear legal barriers if smart/ qualified/ determined etc.).

Legal African immigrants to the US are unusual and typically 2 or more SD over African mean IQ, as inferred by SES and profession. They do pretty well. Similar advantages are seen in all other legal immigrant groups, depending on how strongly the self-selection mechanism for that group and baseline IQ is. The whole thing turns on regression stats and unfortunately the self-selection and legal effects are relatively large compared to the base population means. African immigrants to the US are very unrepresentative of their source countries.

I guess all of that miscegenation by whites in the U.S. has done very little to increase the average IQ of African-Americans, or perhaps whites like Thomas Jefferson who did were low IQ morons too?

Assume a 1 SD gap and admixture sources are representative then 25% ancestry shift would only close by 1/4 SD.

So it would probably do something, but not change things too much. If both are very slightly subrepresentative, may mean the admixed group is no better than an unadmixed group composed of a representative source.


Actually, we see exactly that shift we expect from White-Black admixtures , which is part of our evidence for IQ being polygenetic and why "black" scores are probably a slight over-estimate for African ancestry due to white contamination.

Well you also have to consider that the slave trade was probably adversely selective. It's not like it was the best and brightest on the ships back to America, it was the ones who got caught. I'm sure that American slaves were significantly less intelligent than the general populations from which they were drawn.

Yes, more or less as Alistair says, African legal migrants tend to be heavily selected, while the evidence is for modest negative or no evidence of slave negative selection, or more negative performance today relative to unselected Africans.

It's not the case that African American slaves who are are negatively selected relative to Africans do worse than Europeans, while positively selected African migrants do better than Europeans, and they'd ultimately average out about the same.

Rather it's the case that slave descendants are pretty similar to minimally selected Africans (refugee programs and the like), and that very heavily selected Africans (as in, the top 5% of the continent) only do a little better than totally unselected Europeans.

Though mind, heavily selected Africans still don't really set the world alight intellectually and are fairly mediocre. Their career achievements are fairly good though, so long as it's not too intellectual a niche - experience and personality of being the social elite do help.

I'd also say that it's odd that you'd seem to propose hereditarian differences for African Americans vs Africans, but are so resolutely against hereditarian differences for Africans vs Europeans. What's the difference in principle here? Seems to me like there's none.

"In fact, Africans who make it to the US actually outperform natives, including Whites. "

Exactly, hence the logical conclusion that its not racism holding back African Americans.

Yup. Can't expect Claude to see the obvious modus tollens...

An interesting question is whether elite African immigration rubs off culturally on African Americans, or vice-versa? When an Igbo migrates to the US and, say, earns a Master's in accounting and becomes a CPA, do his bourgeois values tend make native-born black Americans slightly more bourgeois? Or does African-American culture tend to drag down the culture of his kids?

I've never seen any large scale data on this question. I could imagine the answer going either way.

I guess all of those black immigrants from the West Indies and Africa who significantly outperform native blacks came to the U.S. with their own baby bonds...or not.

Shhh! Don't complicate the theory with falsifying data!

Complicate whose theory, Steve's?

There is no biological race. If these immigrants somehow dodge social pitfalls, more power to them. It points the way

I schooled you last week on Principal Component Analysis and Haplogroups.

Go away, troll-without-necessary-maths. The world will forever be beyond you. Think on that, and despair.

It's very sad that you think you did.

Didn't I link the refutation?

Yes I did.


I don't really care that Steve and Alistair squawked at it. That's what they are down to, squawking at real science like sea gulls.

I have to say, I'm underwhelmed by ad hominem attacks posted under a non-unique, anonymized pseudonym. It's a little weak.

Both Darity/Hamilton's theory (economic endowment) and the biological endowment theory have problems explaining the difference between immigrant and native blacks. Culture and personal character matter a lot (the Sowell theory).

Culture / Character looks attractive, but the twin studies show middle class blacks scoring the same SATs/IQ pretty much the same as their low SES counterparts. Depressing, but there you go.

However, I'm prepared to grant that, despite that, it has a fairly sizable effect on SES outcomes. Sowell is probably right that, yes, if American blacks stayed out of ghetto culture and victimisation, they would do a lot better and be happier about themselves. The collapse of "traditional morality" probably hurt US blacks most of all ethnic groups. Ouch.

The biological endowment theory via IQ, alas, accounts well for immigrants vs natives simply by selection mechanism. It will probably remain a negative modifier on all future outcomes. However, early 20C convergence in Black SES outcomes shows that it is not so great that it can't be much ameliorated.

To bypass WSJ paywall: search the url on Twitter and click one of the links there. (You do not need a twitter account.)

Should be called revenge economics. Restoring something that has been taken, solely based on an opinion, not on judicial proceedings. You can claim anything you want, no need for proof, all you need is enough public support to make it real.

Indeed. This is the way a democracy dies; degeneration into looting coalitions, here organised about race. De Tocqueville was only off by a century or two; I think he'd have appreciated Moldbug's take on things.

>revenge economics

That's actually brilliant. See, MR comes through once in awhile!

If you read spanish, you should look at Arcadi Espada's take on the topic. https://www.elmundo.es/opinion/2019/03/17/5c8d5f8621efa08d258b4610.html There's no limit to how petty we can get in the fantasy revenge accounting. You have a higher % of homo sapiens, who extinguished homo neanderthal, of which I have a bigger fraction, therefore I lay claim of reparations.


Yeah, they are almost not bothering to hide their malice any more.

Don't we have solid data showing strong reversion-to-mean effects on inter-generational household wealth? (Indeed; if this didn't happen, then wealth would polarise without limit and we'd all be Bill Gates or broke.)

The theory is incoherent. Any wealth effects from 150 years ago should be wholly dissipated by now.

We do, e.g. from data in Raj Chetty’s 2018 project on “Opportunity Zones” for the “Opportunity Atlas” of the U.S. Slide 1 explains the project:

- Growing body of evidence shows that where children grow up has substantial causal effects on their prospects for upward income mobility.
- Natural question: which neighborhoods offer the best opportunities for children?

The natural question... utter obtuse stupidity. Steve Sailer is not exaggerating about Magic Dirt.

“- Growing body of evidence shows that who a man marries has a substantial causal effect on his quality of life.
- Natural question: which women offer the best quality of life opportunities for bachelors?”

"Natural question: which women offer the best quality of life opportunities for bachelors?”


Barring ongoing structural distortions, income disparities should dissipate over time. But we do have ongoing structural distortions. Even though they are much reduced from the of previous generations, black people still face significant obstacles that white people do not. Some of those obstacles are positional - the last generation of black people lagged the general population in income and education, so this generation starts with a handicap. Some of them are discriminatory - there is a lot less prejudice it there than there used to be, but there is enough to reduce back people's opportunities. And some of them are internal - black people, like most people, react to outside prejudice by retreating to their tribe and rejecting the values of the larger culture. Unfortunately in the case of black teenagers, this often includes a rejection of school and scholarship as "acting white".

This does not mean I'm in favor of the linked article's proposal. I think it is at best counterproductive.

This is an excellent post. There are many smart posters above who love dunking on the libs 'proving' that there's no such thing as racism and black people only have themselves to blame for everything.

It is nice to read a measured, reasonable take. And I agree revenge/reparations are not the answer, but the answer does start with acknowledging the ideas of your post and at least being sympathetic to what blacks have to deal with.

In other words, it still sucks to be black vs being white (on average) in the US. Yes even after slavery was abolished a while back.

The problem with the social/economic disadvantage theory is the dynamic stability and spatial stability. It doesn't explain black convergence in early 20C and divergence later. It doesn't explain northern vs southern black symmetry. It doesn't explain strong inter-generational regression to mean (basically, high SES blacks don't have sufficiently successful offspring if it is a strong effect).

Furthermore, It doesn't explain better outcomes for (low resource) immigrant blacks vs US blacks. It also doesn't explain cross-ethnicity outcomes (Asians, Jews, Indians, etc - all of whom suffered racism and low SES historically).

One can acknowledge that blacks continue to suffer low SES factors without concluding those factors themselves are reinforcing over time.

It explains all of that. Immigrants do better because they don't come from a pathological history like descendants of slaves. Same for Jews, Asians, Indians. American blacks start out culturally and endowment-wise (assets, average IQ (cultural and nutrition factors involved here), positive cultural traits) from farther back than any other group.

It's not a 'theory', just plain common sense fact: blacks are socially and economically disadvantaged from birth. Again, it sucks to be black. And again, I don't favor the massive reparations schemes being discussed, but it would be better for smart posters like yourself to stop playing gotcha games and have a little sympathy. Stop crying 'anti-white racism!' and 'no more help to blacks!' It's right in front of you.

Logic and statistics isn't your strong point when it comes to dynamic model building and path analysis.

"Immigrants do better because they don't come from a pathological history like descendants of slaves. Same for Jews, Asians, Indians. American blacks start out culturally and endowment-wise (assets, average IQ (cultural and nutrition factors involved here), positive cultural traits) from farther back than any other group. "

Well, you can believe that. But you're simply wrong. Regression analysis says that "pathological history" and "lack of social/physical capital" have almost no predictive power on SES outcomes for immigrant ethnicity groups (or pretty much anyone else either). The variables are useless. So we discard them. It's the Principle of parsimony for people on your level and more complex entropy measures for people on mine.

Yeah...so....basically...go away and learn statistics before shooting your opinions off. If you don't know the difference between an f-test and a t-test you really shouldn't be commentating on modern policy analysis anyway.

Yeah. "pathological history" has no predictive power.

Statistical proof that blacks don't have to deal with any problems due to their race.

They criticized mainstream economists and politicians for failing to address racial inequality,

They're obviously not Austrian economists. Politically they're in bed with the Bolsheviks, using economic theory to justify central planning.

Here's a political compromise that will get traction on both sides. Let's do reparations with the condition that we'll never have to hear any more whining about this wealth disparity and oppression stuff. From the point after reparations forward, it's all personal responsibility all the time.

Also, can I haz reparations too? My home country of Iran was oppressed by whites. We'll ignore the peoples and nations Iran oppressed throughout its history and just focus on one side of the ledger. We'll ignore the nationalization (theft) of British property. We just focus on one side of the oppression in the grievance Olympics.

You won't see a penny until us Brits get paid by the Normans, Danes, Norwegians, and Romans.

You won't have the money long; the Brits have to fork it all over to the Irish.

And the Irish will have to fork it over to the descendants of the pre-gaelic people who were ruthlessly displaced. And so on.

Hey! What about us?

Racist oppressor.

The ABA won't certify foreign law schools, globalization will have more legitimacy once the elites eat the dog food too.

Oh gawd. Peter Thiel went on Tucker Carlson to talk about which Democrats scare him most?

Tyler, it's not to late to give away your possessions and join the monastery.

Tyler already lives in a monastery. Didn't you read his post from a few days ago about hia daily habits?


I was joking, but the underlying theme is greater distance from the world.

I don't know Tyler, and can only attempt to deduce him from a few fairly cryptic comments, and his choice of worries.

Based on that, my most generous model for Tyler is that he's trapped in the clown car, with people like Thiel driving. I sure as hell hope he isn't down with giving the brutes what they want, for a 5% chance of influencing policy in a truly libertarian direction.

Are Steve and Alistair in that car too? Who is holding the map?

Hitler found scientists to support his racial theories. Democratic politicians can find ignorant academics to support their views.

Post #43 before old Adolf popped up. Pretty decent. Let's wait until about post 50 for the next discussion.

Such a brilliant, thoughtful response. You support academic quackery no doubt.

"Academic quackery" assumes there are parts of academia that are not quackery.

-source: I'm in academia

Wasn't there a natural experiment in the 1800s (in Georgia?) where the state through some lottery gave a large number of people a valuable asset (land, I believe), and others none?

Researchers recently gathered the data and showed that wealth does not carry far, generation wise. Two or three generations down, having received the boon made no difference.

I think this result is intuitive (except, of course, for massive fortunes, which no doubt tend to last longer).

Last time I checked, there were four Hearsts still on the Forbes 400. Their fortune goes back to the Nevada silver strike of 1859.

On the other hand, they made a lot more money in late 19th Century mining strikes as well, so they may be an example of multiple windfalls.

Here's the study:
Shocking Behavior: Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital Across Generations

And there are Rockefellers around, yadayada. A point I had already made.

But there's a lot of Hearsts' after x generations. Some kept rolling doubles and stayed wealthy, the great majority sank back into the middle class.

We know inter-generational wealth reverts to the mean really quickly.

Hence inferred historical damages should be subject to a VERY large deflator.

If we are going to be empirical about economic policies for those of us with darker skin, up until somewhere around the late-60s we saw black income and wealth accumulating with shrinking racial divides. Then, we saw these gaps begin to grow larger. In the decades since we have used massive amounts of affirmative action, huge amounts of public funds for both racial and merely class based remediation, and we have barely seen the needle move.

I mean if we look at the actual data, the gaps were growing the slowest under Jim Crow.

Which is why I think the whole enterprise is fallacious.

“One interesting angle, of course, is whether their claims and theories are true.”

Ha! True. As if that matters.

Oh, you got to love Tyler's gentle humour. I remember when I thought Straussian meant classical music.

The Woke Academy will still hang him, though, one day. He'll be a 1930's Soviet poet trying to justify his muse on comrade Stalin.

Their signature ideas—guaranteed jobs for all adult Americans seeking them,

The movie “Dave” had that almost 30 years ago.

America’s been floating that idea for a very long time. Unless those guys are in their 80s....

Guilds might frown on that.

We pretend to work, they pretend to pay us was not a success.

One thing's for sure, these two guys' jobs are as guaranteed as it gets -- as long as they keep grinding out the leftist talking points

...Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on job guarantees....

Maybe they should have advised Bernie’s wife?

The racial wealth gap accumulated over years, they say, stoked not just by slavery but by 20th-century policies that helped whites and marginalized African-Americans.

Unless they’re talking about at minimum completely overhauling LBJ’s great society laws and regs, and pushing to get a high school diploma, don’t get married until you’re after 20 and don’t have kids until after you’re married....

The married horse has left that barn.

Daniel Moynihan might still be right.

The Democrats are caught in this vicious cycle of ineffectually pandering/patronizing to blacks. As it becomes more extreme, its going to cost them elections.

I cannot easily imagine a policy that would create more polarization and animosity than slavery reparations. The fights would be unbelievable over who would pay and who would benefit (and how much -- would the 'one drop rule' apply or would there be a reverse 'paper bag' test? Would the lily white descendants of Sally Hemmings get checks or only the darker ones?). And the process would surely be followed up by reparation demands from any and every group that had any kind of claim on historical discrimination (descendants of Chinese and Japanese immigrants and Irish and Italian -- and even German -- immigrants. Catholics. Jews. Hispanics. Women. Gays. Native Americans). An intersectional political war of all against all.

No one will pay directly in fees or taxes, because that would stoke too much opposition. They'll sneak it through with the billions just magically appearing in the federal coffers before being electronically doled out. So of course everyone will share some pain thanks to a compromised currency.

(How they decide who gets what is another, far stickier question.)

That would matter a little, but not much. People will know why their taxes are being raised or debts are exploding. They'd know the money was going for this and not other things they cared about. And the fights over who gets a check and who doesn't (and how big those checks are) would provide far more than enough fuel for the dumpster fire.

Vote buying is far from new, and does not indicate that "wider ideas" are being considered, and certainly does not require seatbelt buckling.

The size of the check being cut rises ever upward. That is all.

"Their statistics show that black households headed by a college graduate have, on average, less wealth than those headed by white high-school dropouts, and that black households headed by someone working full time have less wealth than those headed by unemployed whites. The racial wealth gap accumulated over years, they say, stoked not just by slavery but by 20th-century policies that helped whites and marginalized African-Americans."

Some people, no matter how much money comes in, will spend more.
Some people, even if they don't make much, will try to save some.

It sounds like blacks tend to fall into the first category.

We had some data on exactly that a few years back here? The spending patterns for equivalent income black and white households was notably skewed towards Veblen goods in the case of the former, iirc. Lots more jewellery and designer gear.

The study cited here doesn't show that blacks spend more on consumption. It shows they spend more on conspicuous consumption. But whites spend more on other types of consumption including alcohol and tobacco, durable entertainment, and entertainment services. Look at Table IV in the QJE article they published. Thus, one cannot conclude from this study that blacks "spend more" and "save less." It may be true that blacks spend more than equivalent whites on cars, designer gear and jewelry, but they spend less on alcohol, tvs, tobacco, and vacation. The implications for wealth inequality are therefore ambiguous.

My God....12 years back!


As ideas go, they beat "go back to your country". But where will poor Peter pick once they come for him, New Zealand? Germany (probably laws against saying what he says there)?

Is there a newsletter that instructs people on how to respond to the latest fake Trump controversy? If so, you should unsubscribe. You'll be much happier. Trust me it's much better to be uninformed about the news than to be constantly and confidently misinformed (see Russia collusion hoax, Charlottesville fine people hoax, etc.).

This is another thread here where the comments are quite depressing to read.

I do not agree with all of their proposals (not going to get into which ones why and so on), but I have known both Darity and Hamilton for decades and have published papers by them in journals I have edited. Their scholarly work has always been top quality, and I am glad to see them getting attention and influence, even if I do not agree with some of their proposals.

As it is, much of the commentary here is somewhere between shameful and embarrassing, as well as, of course, massively ignorant.

Old man yells at the Internet.

News at 11.

It's not really a blog about economics. It's an adjunct of Thiel's political project now, even if that means publishing race hate, below the line of course so it's deniable.

I'm also a humanities PhD who edits low-impact-factor grievance journals. Let's meet IRL and discuss the high-quality pontifications of these two geniuses while coyly avoiding explicit statements of our disagreement(s), if any, with them

I don't know Hamilton, but my beef is with William Darity.
What does he complain about?
His parents were academics, and he went to Brown and MIT.
Very, very few American college students can do this, even less with the college entrance fraud cases being in the headlines these days.
Sorry, but I have little empathy for whiny professors who attended Ivy League and MIT and the complain how bad they have it.

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