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Chetty on Reparations
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Harvard economist Raj Chetty unveiled in 2013 an ambitious plan to use the public’s IRS tax returns for parents in 1996-2000 and their children in 2011-2012 to discover the localities in the country that were the best place to raise children to be economically upwardly mobile. From that map, he expected to be able to discover subtle technocratic distinctions about what made one place better than another — perhaps something to do with, say, mass transit to suburban jobs? — thus allowing the less promising locales to simply imitate their betters.

But as I pointed out immediately upon Chetty unveiling his first national map of inter-generational income mobility in 2013, it mostly looked like like a map of where the blacks and American Indians aren’t. Blacks and American Indians have lower mean incomes than whites, so they tend to regress toward lower means. (Asians and Hispanics, being immigrants, have different patterns.)

Slowly, Chetty has come around to admitting the truth of my insight, writing in 2018:

…blacks and American Indians are currently close to their steady-state income distributions.

Here’s Chetty’s video of regression in action showing what happens to the adult income of white and black children in 2011-12 who were raised by parents who were in the top 20% of income in 1996-2000:

Interestingly, Chetty implies (obliquely) that reparations wouldn’t work:

Transient programs that do not affect intergenerational mobility directly, such as temporary cash transfers, are insufficient to reduce black-white gaps in income ranks because income distributions will revert back to their steady-states in future generations.

 
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  1. Well Im sure a high priest of neoliberal globohomo kinda sorta maybe casting aspersions at gimmedats it means that train is derailed.

    • Replies: @Anon
  2. lol @ blocking my comments about this idiot.

  3. Lot says:

    “are insufficient to reduce black-white gaps in income ranks because income distributions will revert back to their steady-states in future generations.”

    Does he have an estimate of what the steady-state is for Nordic-Minnesotans and Somali-Minnesotans?

    How much money to “close the gap,” keeping mind mine that the Somalis plan on having 6 kids each, importing/marrying their first cousins with 3rd grade educations, and chewing a lot of khat?

    Would it be easier to close the gap if we just made the white-Minnesotans eat lead paint chips?

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
    • Replies: @trelane
    , @Redneck farmer
  4. Daniel H says:

    ...because income distributions will revert back to their steady-states in future generations.

    That will be a feature, not a bug of the soon to come permanent reparations bureaucracy/policy. Once initiated, they will never stop. And because reparations have been such a barrier, once breached all other policy barriers will seem trivial in comparison and will also come down.

  5. Whiskey says: • Website

    Somali teens and youth in MN have vibrant ideas of income redistribution involving hammers and White commuters in train stations.

  6. Anonymous[264] • Disclaimer says:

    I learned two new terms from iSteve this week:

    Steady states” (this post) and “successor ideology” (from Steve’s “White Supremacy” post on May 21st, http://www.unz.com/isteve/white-supremacy-culture/#comments).

  7. The NYT animated graphic that starts this presentation is a superb illustration of regression to the mean. That Chetty totally avoids mentioning this suggests that he’s either an idiot or a coward who knows a dangerous observation when he sees one. I don’t think he’s a total idiot.

    If Chetty had commented on regression to the mean at this point, he might have been impelled to consider what variables among Negro Americans correlate strongly with income and yet are not affected by income of parents, i.e., are more a function of nature than nurture. That would have gotten him headlines in the Harvard Crimson and the $PLC web site, and mot the good kind.

    Chetty has cleverly avoided thoughtcrime here and protected his audience from exposure to the same.

  8. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:

    How exactly did Chetty get his hands on these tax returns?

    Aren’t tax returns private information?

    Who authorized this?

    Isn’t this illegal?

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  9. Anon[357] • Disclaimer says:

    If we’re talking about 154 year-old grievances, then Southerners should demand reparations from the North for the economic damage caused by the Civil War. It was deliberate Northern war policy to destroy the South economically (see Sherman’s March, etc.) so the South could no longer wage war, and it took the South decades to recover from the massive loss of capital.

    My Scottish and Irish ancestors left for the US because of the English, so I should demand reparations from English. The Brits should demand reparations from the Germans for World War II. (It looks like the Poles are beginning to wise up to this–if German EU policy is going to wreck your economy, hey, why not get some money from them?)

    • Replies: @HHSIII
  10. anon[350] • Disclaimer says:

    Blacks are doing amazingly well considering their low employment rates.

    Or, considering their criminality, incarceration rates, and other cultural propensities, they are serious over achievers. No?

    • Replies: @BigDickNick
  11. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:

    He’s saying that Blacks will squander the reparation money, so it won’t make much difference in the long term.

    Which sounds plausible.

    You always hear stories of Black athletes blowing their money and going broke. Even middle class Black professionals often have descendants who somehow fall back into the ghetto.

    It’s not just Blacks who squander their wealth. Natives are just as bad, remaining poor even with all their welfare checks and casino money. I bet if you gave a trillion to Appalachians or Irish-Americans, they’d somehow blow through their money quickly.

    On the other hand, I bet if you gave a trillion to the Chinese, that’d boost their “steady state” for the next few centuries.

    Cash transfers work effectively if people are disciplined and oriented to the long term.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    , @anon
  12. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack Hanson

    Yeah, probably.

    Realistically, reparations aren’t affordable, not with high levels of defense spending and low taxation.

    Democrats are promising Blacks a big goodie bag, but they have no ability or intent to deliver.

    For a candidate like Warren, for example, the hope is that she can increase Black support by being pro-reparations. Then hopefully, after she wins in 2020, Blacks will forget or get distracted.

    Things will get interesting if Blacks hold the Democrats to their word.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    , @Anonymous
  13. Lo says:

    I didn’t even listen to Raj Chetty, and I support the idea. The necessary resource can be easily created by slapping huge punishment to H1B scamming corporations like Infosys, TATA and so on (I am sure Raj would support it!). Then figure blacks whose ancestors were slaves and distribute the money. Within a few days, the economy would get a boost thanks to the stupid money. I expect huge increases in sales of fantasy car painting, fancy cars, sound systems, wigs, Air Jordan and so on. I think slavery reparations is a fantastic idea for the general economy.

  14. Neuday says:

    I think the whole point is Reparation now, Reparation tomorrow, Reparation forever!

  15. “income distributions will revert back to their steady-states in future generations”

    Otherwise known as Antoine Walker’s Law.

    • Replies: @BigDickNick
  16. Whatdya’ know? The guy is full of crap on his first slide! Why would I mash play?

    Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems

    No, you ignorant professor, you and no one else are going to solve economic and social problems. If the busybodies like yourself and all the other Socialists/Commies would not have gotten Big-Gov to try to “fix” problems 50 years ago with regulation, coercion, and bad incentives, backed by stupidity and the long arm of the law, people may have fixed their own problems by now.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    – C.S. Lewis

    “F__k this guy, Chetty!”

    – A.E. Newman

  17. If Raj Chetty were serious, he’d use his privileged access to data to apply algorithmic information theory to discover causal networks in a wide range of longitudinal social measures. However, if he were serious, he’d probably discover that guys like him are placing the United States at risk of civil war.

  18. trelane says:
    @Lot

    Lead poisoning only reduces IQ by 3-4 IQ points so no, requiring flyover state whites to eat lead paint chips is not enough. We must do more. Good first step Lot but more must be done.

    • Replies: @BigDickNick
  19. @Jus' Sayin'...

    “That Chetty totally avoids mentioning this suggests that he’s either an idiot or a coward who knows a dangerous observation when he sees one. I don’t think he’s a total idiot.”

    He is neither. If you have extreme jealousy and hatred of a civilization created by another race and you wanted to destroy it, or you realized the people employing you have such hatred, you would avoid mentioning things that helped it and do everything you could to destroy it…..

  20. @anon

    considering their tendency to monkey around i’d say they are doing okay.

  21. @Anon

    A lot of stuff isn’t affordable, like acting as charity case to the entire Golden Triangle of Central America, yet here we are watching Camp of the Saints happen in real time.

    Globohomo will raid 401ks and tax golf courses to pay for reparations if necessary.

    • Replies: @Anon
  22. @Bragadocious

    Good point. “future generations” is pretty optimistic. More like income distributions will revert back over the course of a couple decades.

  23. @trelane

    Whites should be forced to wear headphones that blast loud noises whenever they try to concentrate.

  24. indocon says:

    I have bookmarked this video for any future discussion on this topic with my coworkers in olive space.

  25. @Anon

    990, Said it before. Give them all a great big check and I will show up in the inner city with armed security guards and a trailer full of flat screens, Play Stations, kicks and rims. have it all back in a week.

    • Agree: GermanReader2
    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  26. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack Hanson

    A lot of businessmen want Central American labor, which is why they’re getting work permits. It’s no coincidence that this wave began when the economy tightened.

    Globohomo won’t touch 401Ks, as they don’t want to impoverish themselves in retirement.

    Businessmen have no need for reparations, so they won’t push it. That’s the difference between reparations and the Central American wave.

    Also, there’s a substantial difference between billions in new spending on Central Americans and trillions of new spending in Blacks. Our credit line with foreign lenders is not infinite.

    Lots of Democrats understand this. So you see even Bernie decline to support reparations.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    , @Mr McKenna
  27. Reparations will come in the form of grants to buy homes since that is where most of the wealth gap lies. Of course, 80k to 100k won’t buy a home nowadays. So generous Wall Street Bankers will step in to cover the balance with predatory loans. It will be pitched as an economic stimulus package as real estate prices will rise and jobs will be created. Whites will benefit as much as Blacks.

    In a few years the foreclosures will start, and we will see a 2008 style meltdown. No worries since the Wall Street Bankers will be fine.

  28. @Anon

    I like how in a world with 11 year old drag queens dancing for dollars at a gay club being pushed as sane and normal you think a few trillion for the Left’s black shock troops is beyond the pale for Globohomo. Yes, sure.

    Also lmao at “businessmen won’t touch 401ks because they have money tied up in them” WRONG. 401ks are for the little people. Bernie will endorse reparations or he won’t win. Simple as that. Like on demand abortions and open borders, it has become part and parcel of the Democratic canon.

    But hey, whatever you gotta tell yourself to get through the day.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @gregor
  29. @Jus' Sayin'...

    If Chetty had commented on regression to the mean at this point, he might have been impelled to consider what variables among Negro Americans correlate strongly with income and yet are not affected by income of parents, i.e., are more a function of nature than nurture.

    Listening to his lecture, it finally dawned on me that Chetty is simply using his own term — “steady state equilibrium” — as a literal synonym for “regression to the mean.” So when he talks about a “steady state gap” he is merely using euphemism to state that Blacks and Whites are regressing to different means (33rd percentile and 58th percentile, respectively).

    Any of the hypothesized politically correct environmental explanations (however implausible) could theoretically be driving the statistical regressions to different means if those environmental factors remained constant between generations. So I am not sure why the term “regression to the mean” is necessarily verboten. But he has clearly gone out of his way to avoid using it.

    As this is a Harvard undergraduate lecture it goes without saying that Chetty cannot even mention the obvious Occam’s razor explanation of genes. Instead, he flails around in the weeds talking about environmental and geographical hypotheses, while admitting that none of them actually pan out in the statistical evidence.

    Toward the end you can actually hear the disillusion in his voice as he tries to put a good face on the conclusion that all of his Big Data analysis has completely crapped out in terms of coming up with any politically palatable explanation for racial disparities in income.

  30. @Hypnotoad666

    I think Chetty will accidentally end up red pilling a lot of people. The standard explanation for racial gaps is “bad schools” or “blacks are poor,” but the data clearly doesn’t support either of those ideas as poor whites are about as smart as rich blacks and blacks do poorly in integrated schools where non-blacks excel. Just presenting the data + some silly explanation will get a lot of people’s noggins joggin’.

    • Replies: @lavoisier
  31. Chetty implies (obliquely) that reparations wouldn’t work

    That’s a very generous interpretation. One could also argue that he would be against less radical forms of reparations, which are popular talking points on the campaign trail, because the key word he uses is transient.

    His findings could well be used as evidence that it needs to be a permanent transfer structure and quite deep-rooted. And who knows if he would even oppose it (if they managed to make whites pay most of it).

  32. Aren’t young blacks from high-income families often only children? That must have some effect, too.

    A weird aside: Kindle just autocorrected high-income to low-income. Twice. That’s telling.

  33. steve is tiresome.

    white southerners have the same lack of mobility as black southerners.

    the correct conclusion is that lincoln was evil and the civil war should never have been fought.

  34. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack Hanson

    Drag queens aren’t costing anybody any money. It’s mostly fun and games at this point.

    Everything is fun and games until money is on the line, at which point it gets real.

    401Ks are popular with huge numbers of execs, corporate managers, and employed professionals. They’re too busy to care about transgendered whatever, but they worked hard to make their money and will turn on Democrats if their retirement is raided to pay Blacks.

    If Blacks were that politically powerful, they would’ve killed mass incarceration and welfare reform.

    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
  35. @Lot

    When khat is legalized, make sure the licenses only go to Somali-Americans.

  36. gregor says:
    @Jack Hanson

    Tax advantaged retirement accounts started out more or less as a perk for executives. The IRS actually has to set limits to make sure the regular workers are participating and to prevent the plan assets from being too skewed towards “highly compensated employees.” There is now more money in tax advantaged accounts than in regular taxable accounts. And we know wealthy and upper class people hold most of that since income and especially wealth have such skewed distributions. The top 10% owns something like 80+% of the stock. The bottom half owns basically zero. When Romney ran for president it was disclosed that he had an IRA that was worth $102M. The GAO has reported that there are more than 9,000 IRAs worth over $5M.

    At one point, Obama naively proposed cutting 529 plans (the investment plan for college savings). That is a minor plan compared retirement accounts, yet Obama quickly withdrew the proposal after the uproar.

  37. gregor says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    The term “steady state” is pretty common in economic modeling. For example,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solow–Swan_model

  38. Anonymous[243] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Realistically, reparations aren’t affordable, not with high levels of defense spending and low taxation.

    We can print more money.

  39. @gregor

    The top 10% is about half the married parents of children under 18, though.

  40. @Buffalo Joe

    kicks and rims

    Well, sir, you talk the talk; this I cannot deny 😉

  41. @Anon

    Speaking of Central America. Can anyone here explain for me why meso-american countries are so much lower in average IQ than either northern or southern American countries? The map was posted here awhile ago. I’m not surprised that Argentina and Chile have higher IQs than Nicaragua and Honduras, but I can’t understand Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia being so much higher. Any ideas?

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  42. @Mr McKenna

    This looks like the one. Can’t remember if it was Steve or AE who posted it.

    Two notes, compromising my query a bit: One, this map may be anomalous w/r/t Central America and two, Bolivia and Ecuador: not so much. Speaking of anomalies, Costa Rica sure seems blessed. We don’t have tons of Costa Ricans flooding across the Mexican border, do we.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    , @Thea
  43. @Hypnotoad666

    No, regression to the mean is not exactly the same thing as a steady state equilibrium distribution. It is a bit complicated since this refers to a panel data process where there is both a cross-sectional of individuals (or linked generations) and a time-series of dates. Mean reversion refers to the feature that individuals (or linked generations) that are above/below their predicted long-run mean will tend to drift back toward that mean. A steady state distribution means that the cross-sectional distribution as a probability distribution stays constant over time. They are related concepts but no they are not the same concept.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  44. @Mr McKenna

    Once again: Costa Rica- No Negro, No Indio, No Problemo.

  45. lavoisier says: • Website
    @BigDickNick

    I think Chetty will accidentally end up red pilling a lot of people. The standard explanation for racial gaps is “bad schools” or “blacks are poor,” but the data clearly doesn’t support either of those ideas as poor whites are about as smart as rich blacks

    I think very few people can be accidentally red pilled. To challenge the orthodoxy of racial equality requires a certain measure of intellectual integrity, a willingness to accept the truth wherever it leads.

    This quality is very rare.

    To admit that racial equality is a myth requires a high level of intellectual strength that can permit narrative reprogramming and the willingness to become what one has always hated.

    Difficult task for sure, particularly given that a belief in racial equality has taken on religious significance in our world.

    • Replies: @BigDickNick
  46. lavoisier says: • Website
    @gregor

    When Romney ran for president it was disclosed that he had an IRA that was worth $102M.

    And what remarkable things did Romney do to earn such wealth?

  47. Thea says:

    “Won’t work” hasn’t stopped a lot of other terrible ideas from being implemented.

  48. Thea says:
    @Mr McKenna

    Likely there are some details to pre -Columbia’s migration that aren’t known to current anthropologists. The recent discovery of Andamen like admixture in the Amazon fir example has yet to be explained. Maybe something like that happened in Central America. The Darian Gap is a huge barrier to migration.

  49. @Anon

    This is 100% cope. “Those facts don’t matter, these non sequiturs do.”

    Blacks ARE the Democratic Party. The fact you argue this means you don’t get the basics at play.

  50. @Peter Johnson

    No, regression to the mean is not exactly the same thing as a steady state equilibrium distribution.

    Part of the problem is that Chetty glosses over the actual math that he’s using in his “steady state” chart. But his entire definition of “mobility” — moving up or down relative to a national mean — is basically, by definition, a measure of the regression to the mean phenomenon. His “steady state equilibrium” analysis really looks like nothing more than an alternate way to derive the mean to which the members of each population is statistically regressing to.

    I am no expert on statistics but I have a hunch that pretty much all of Chetty’s supposedly “interesting” observations on “mobility” are due to a simple failure to identify the appropriate mean to which one would expect regression.

    For example, he defines areas with the highest “upward mobility” as those in which children in the bottom national quintile in parental income are more likely to move to the top national quintile in their own income. So he naturally finds that San Francisco has higher “upward mobility” than Oakland. But that would be totally predictable as an artifact of San Francisco’s much higher local mean income. That is, if a kid grows up in San Francisco with the same absolute parental income as a kid in Oakland, but he regresses to the higher local mean in San Francisco, it will necessarily appear as if San Francisco has “Magic Dirt” that causes his upward mobility.

    He also seems to consistently ignore that “downward mobility” is necessary to produce the supposedly sought-after “upward mobility.” For example, kids who grow up in Beverly Hills will necessarily have more downward mobility than kids who grow up in the projects with zero parental income. (Although this is mostly obscured by his crude quintile metric).

    If Chetty wants to argue that personal income is not a Gaussian multi-factor distribution that is subject to a bell curve and regression to the mean, etc., then by all means he should make that argument. But it appears that his M.O. is to simply ignore any Gaussian analysis of his numbers. For example, I am not sure I have ever heard him utter the words “standard deviation” or “regression to the mean” in discussing his data. That seems strange to me.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
    , @Anonymous
  51. anon[350] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Reparations be forever. Lollipops and gummy drops and candy things for all time. Take away reparations and you take away our dignity.

  52. @Jus' Sayin'...

    Yes, regression to the mean is the simplest explanation, and one that Chetty studiously ignores. He knows what is happening, and won’t spell it out.

  53. @lavoisier

    I guess we will see. When people argue for racial equality they usually says stuff like “studies have shown” with no citations. Or they say stuff like “debunked racist theories blah blah.” the point is, people have no clue the data looks like this. Similar to the Stuyvesant situation. I think a huge swath of america is capable of recognizing reality at some point. At a certain point reality become impossible to deny for most people.

  54. HHSIII says:
    @Anon

    My grandfather from Burlington, NC hated Sherman. Said he was worse than Hitler. I asked why. He said Sherman murdered his own people.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  55. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @HHSIII

    Blacks love rhyme, so it’s fortuitous that “reparation” rhymes with “separation”, is it not?

    You take the money, you leave and never ever come back again. We’ll give you a nice nest egg, half on arrival and half over the next 20 to 40 years depending on your age. You can have what passes for a pretty good life in any Black African country. You could even be the local Big Man in a lot of places.

    Someone needs to do a rap song associating Reparations and Separations and rap about how great it would be to go to Affica an’sheeit and be the big man.

  56. @Hypnotoad666

    “So I am not sure why the term “regression to the mean” is necessarily verboten. But Chetty has clearly gone out of his way to avoid using it.”

    Because I’ve been using “regression toward the mean” to provide an Occam’s Razor explanation for Chetty’s findings since he first published them in 2013?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Peter Johnson
  57. Because I’ve been using “regression toward the mean” to provide an Occam’s Razor explanation for Chetty’s findings since he first published them in 2013?

    At this point I guess it’s more like “Occam’s Elephant.”

    Although I did notice that around the 1:30 mark he snuck in a crypto-reference to “Rushton & Jensen” as one bullet point on the slide listing “Theories of Racial Disparities.” If you blinked you missed it, however, as their theory is labelled as “Ability at Birth” and is grouped with a bunch of PC environmental theories under the rubric of “Family-Level Factors.”

    I shudder to think how the undergraduates would react if they ever learned that they had been unknowingly exposed to a citation to Bad Think.

  58. Anonymous[272] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Because I’ve been using “regression toward the mean” to provide an Occam’s Razor explanation for Chetty’s findings since he first published them in 2013?

    Couldn’t his choice of words be motivated simply by the desire to avoid applying the negative connotation of the word “regression” to innocent human beings?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  59. @Steve Sailer

    Chetty understands the concept of “regression to the mean” and also understands that it favors Jensen-Rushton HBD theory as the main causal explanation for that observed feature in the data. He avoids the term “regression to the mean” because he knows Sailer et al use it and that it points toward HBD. That is not a politically correct explanation. (Hopefully Chetty reads unz.com or at least talks to people who do read it.)

  60. @Hypnotoad666

    I agree with some of the things you say here, but keep two things in mind: 1) Chetty has not required a prerequisite course in statistics for students taking this course so he has to tread very carefully, and he does so with great deftness and skill 2) Chetty has to avoid crimethink at all costs and this is extremely difficult since the data he has collected points toward HBD as the obvious explanation as you note. Incidentally, personal income does not follow a “multi-factor Gaussian distribution” as you suggest – if you need to impose a specific parametric distribution it is closer to log-normal than normal. Your point about regression to the mean being the key concept that Chetty avoids seems correct. Sailer picked up on that.

    If you think that because Chetty is lecturing using statistical analysis in very simple terms, that this implies he does not understand statistics, you are wrong. I can tell from listening to him that he is very solid in his statistical understanding in how he deftly avoids getting into complications, due to the chosen audience for his lectures. He never says anything wrong, but avoids lots of complications.

  61. @Peter Johnson

    I am quite impressed with Chetty’s data. I do the kind of thing almost nobody else does and look at his numbers in rank order and most of his results usually make a lot of sense.

  62. @Peter Johnson

    More importantly for point 2, if Chetty veers even close to crimethink in any of his official research/courses, he will lose access to all the tax return data. Likely, no one would ever be able to conduct this type of research again due to the stigma that would be attached to it.

    I don’t blame Chetty for treading so carefully or avoiding “obvious” implications—I bet he’s more acutely aware of them than anyone else is, not to mention whatever other non-PC findings he’s found. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s withholding some results that strongly support HBD/genetic factors.

    He’s seen what’s happened to Charles Murray’s career post The Bell Curve. Tenure won’t save you from an angry mob of students and SJWs.

    • Agree: Peter Johnson
  63. Anonymous[381] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    Could you analyze qualitative v/s quantitative movement away from the mean? Is there more or less economic & social value for artificially engineered and sustained social mobility?

    I mean the type of kid that defies his upbringing via talent (and hard work) by excelling in a hardcore area, like a mathematical or scientific area, that generally offers a far higher economic reward than excelling in the liberal arts.

    Although liberal arts subjects aren’t considered as hard as the scientific or technical areas, kids raised in an impoverished environment might find it harder to master those subjects due to the everyday habits of speech in their milieu.

    Once they hit the adult job market, other factors come into play that have little to do with the relative difficulty of the subject they mastered or whether or not their parents were poor, affluent or middle class.

    If the kid is in a minority group, a non-market-driven factor that can vault him / her to success in landing a job is Affirmative Action. For the same legal reasons, it is also harder to fire him / her.

    Others career boosters that are not dependent on skin pigmentation or even wealth are just as important. If s/he has kids, the crony-parent job network kicks in to aid in job acquisition and job retention, regardless of how much time off from work the socially-mobile worker takes.

    Social mobility used to be jumpstarted by quality job openings.

    Now, although turnover is Yuge & brutal in many areas of the job market, we have multiple, entrenched groups of privileged employees, including those with above-firing womb privilege.

    When crony moms cannot be fired for taking off many, many, many whole mornings, whole days and whole weeks in excess of their PTO & preggie leave, the labor market has fewer quality job openings and, thus, less mobility for anyone—minority and non minority alike.

    • Replies: @rob
  64. @Peter Johnson

    Incidentally, personal income does not follow a “multi-factor Gaussian distribution” as you suggest – if you need to impose a specific parametric distribution it is closer to log-normal than normal.

    I would guess that earnings from one’s actual labor are pretty Gaussian, but that income from capital/investment is more of a Pareto distribution. So there might be a funky transition zone where the returns to labor and capital are being aggregated at the right end of the income spectrum.

    I don’t know if the tax return data would allow any effective disaggregation of income sources. (For example, by distinguishing straight W-2 income with business income and capital gains). But I suppose that’s actually one of the big advantages of using quintiles — it eliminates all these potential distortions at the high end of the income distribution.

  65. rob says:
    @Anonymous

    I liked you more when you were Endgame Napoleon, and I could block your repetitive babble.

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