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Last week in Taki’s Magazine, I wrote in my “Lost Edisons” column about Raj Chetty’s “Lost Einsteins” study of the family backgrounds of American inventors. Timofey Pnin now points out this new study of Finnish inventors that includes IQ scores, which Chetty mostly lacked for his American study

THE SOCIAL ORIGINS OF INVENTORS

Philippe Aghion, Ufuk Akcigit, Ari Hyytinen, Otto Toivanen

http://www.nber.org/papers/w24110 NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

This project owes a lot to early discussions with Raj Chetty, Xavier Jaravel and John Van Reenen when we were embarking on two parallel projects, them on US inventors and us on Finnish inventors. …

In this paper we merge three datasets – individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data – to analyze the determinants of an individual’s probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual’s IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. The impact of IQ is robust to controlling for unobserved family characteristics by focusing on potential inventors with brothers close in age. We also provide evidence on the importance of social family interactions, by looking at biological versus non-biological parents. Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation.

 
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  1. Pirelli says:

    I’m confused by the last sentence (“which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation”). Can someone smarter please explain that to me?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Neil Templeton
    I think that means that rich kids can do what they please rather than what the market directs them to do. Some of them would rather tinker in the basement and build whatever. If they applied their skill rationally they would instead work only at the whim of the market to manufacture methamphetamine, or produce adult films, or write evocative essays for 65 million sanctimonious moral porn addicts.
    , @Trelane
    I know right? My thought was exactly the same as yours. WTF does that mean?
    , @Triumph104
    Talents = people. A "misallocation of talents to innovation" means the wrong people are going into STEM.

    The study asks, "Does innovation attract the most talented individuals or is there misallocation of talents into innovation?" ... "Misallocation means that a positive fraction of potential inventors are not performing as well as they could due to inadequate or insufficient parental support. Inadequate parental support may be especially harmful for highly talented individuals, eroding even further the utilization of the innovative potential of the economy. "

    Graphs, from three different sources, in Figure 1 of the study show that when the income of Finnish parents/fathers is at 96-100% of the national income distribution, their children are four times as likely to become innovators as the children of parents/fathers with income at the 80% level. Two of the graphs show that parental/father income from 0% to 96% does not make that much of a difference in the likelihood of producing an innovator. My numbers aren't exact but this is quite shocking.


    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/aghion/files/social_origins_of_inventors.pdf

    , @Hail

    a misallocation of talents to innovation
     
    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant "talent" (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the "(field of) innovation," i.e. people working with 'ideas' and not with 'things' or 'making things.' One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are "high-IQ, high-father-income" and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to "R and D," i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they're doing, we'd all be better off.

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  2. I don’t get that last remark either.

    According to that book they made America, Edison would give these very difficult general knowledge question quizzes to his Prospective employees. He would have it tailored specifically to their bracket of work, for example he would ask carpenters, where is most of mahogany exported from? Answer: Bolivia. It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.
    Supposedly this method is roughly psychometric. And magazine interviewers, when they would interview edison, took to giving him surprise quizzes of this sort. Supposedly, his performance would correlate with an IQ of 190!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Yapius maximus:

    Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.

    Judgment, judgment, judgment.....
    , @donut
    Look for some stories about Adm. Rickover .
    , @newrouter
    " It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room."

    Yea imagine interviewing for an engineering job and NOT knowing the density of air at STP and NOT being able to estimate the volume of the room and NOT knowing how to multiply. Dear Lord I need a safe space.(0.0765 lb/(cu ft)) according to ISA (International Standard Atmosphere).)
    , @PiltdownMan
    My dad interviewed for a job with the General Land Office (now the Bureau of Land Management) in the late 1930s. He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights.
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  3. Jack D says:

    Hard to tell the Finnish names from the Turkish names. Ufuk is an unfortunate choice – must have led to a lot of teasing at school.

    Read More
    • Replies: @2Mintzin1
    Gawd, yes. Just imagine 7th grade.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Ufuk is an unfortunate choice
     
    True, but his younger brother "Imafuk" (the I is a long E) overshadowed "Ufuk" in the category of "unfortunate" and permanently elevated "A Boy Named Sue" up to the second decile for worst names ever.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. @Pirelli
    I'm confused by the last sentence ("which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation"). Can someone smarter please explain that to me?

    I think that means that rich kids can do what they please rather than what the market directs them to do. Some of them would rather tinker in the basement and build whatever. If they applied their skill rationally they would instead work only at the whim of the market to manufacture methamphetamine, or produce adult films, or write evocative essays for 65 million sanctimonious moral porn addicts.

    Read More
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  5. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow’s election?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson II
    MSM says it is a toss-up. So it has to be Moore.
    , @David Davenport
    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow’s election?

    Judge Moore wins.

    , @the one they call Desanex
    I think most white Alabamians realize we need to elect a Republican, even if they’re not crazy about Roy Moore. Me, I’m crazy about him.
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  6. Dan Hayes says:
    @Yapius maximus
    I don’t get that last remark either.

    According to that book they made America, Edison would give these very difficult general knowledge question quizzes to his Prospective employees. He would have it tailored specifically to their bracket of work, for example he would ask carpenters, where is most of mahogany exported from? Answer: Bolivia. It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.
    Supposedly this method is roughly psychometric. And magazine interviewers, when they would interview edison, took to giving him surprise quizzes of this sort. Supposedly, his performance would correlate with an IQ of 190!

    Yapius maximus:

    Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.

    Judgment, judgment, judgment…..

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonym
    If you can't see salt on the french fries they haven't been adequately salted IMO. No doubt Edison rejected a number of genius employees with a taste for salt.
    , @newrouter
    "Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting."

    Salt was the food preservative prior to mechanical refrigeration. So then yea. Today not so much about his judgement.
    , @Olorin
    In a hiring situation for an innovation factory I'd say this detail makes perfect sense, if true:

    Someone who encounters the world with prejudgments such as "this needs salt before I've tasted it" is likely to make other prejudgments that could get in the way of open innovative observation/experimentation. Coming in to any meal demonstrating categorical thinking like "all food is undersalted" also bespeaks a lack of curiosity...or ability to distinguish.

    In Zen the goal is "beginner mind." Being completely open, aware, and curious down to the smallest detail. Unfettered/unlimited by prior assumptions. Some people come by that more or less naturally. We call it a form of scientific genius. Trying not to impose assumptions on reality, or more accurately to understand the imposition and break it into testable chunks. The courage to disprove your convictions.

    Old guy I knew in West Orange whose dad worked at Raritan/Menlo Park said his dad said that TAE was very particular about food--eating just enough of the right kinds, on a fixed schedule, and it of good quality and appropriate amount.

    All sorts of stories circulated about his eating quirks...but we know that people love inventing and telling that kind of story about people they don't understand. It's a way for them to hitch a ride with the large, incomprehensible hull by cementing their barnacle to it.

    This can be managed as a convenient form of misdirection: gives them something to talk about/attend to while the work proceeds. Otherwise, pitchforks and pitch torches. Such folks can't understand the complicated stuff anyway, so help them focus on the little stuff. How many scoops/Diet Cokes. The wrong way to eat KFC. The camo of clickbait.

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  7. 2Mintzin1 says:
    @Jack D
    Hard to tell the Finnish names from the Turkish names. Ufuk is an unfortunate choice - must have led to a lot of teasing at school.

    Gawd, yes. Just imagine 7th grade.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    Gawd, yes. Just imagine 7th grade.
     
    Fortunately, he arrived here as an adult, after finishing his undergraduate studies in Turkey.

    From Koc University.

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  8. Trelane says:
    @Pirelli
    I'm confused by the last sentence ("which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation"). Can someone smarter please explain that to me?

    I know right? My thought was exactly the same as yours. WTF does that mean?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @2Mintzin1
    Gawd, yes. Just imagine 7th grade.

    Gawd, yes. Just imagine 7th grade.

    Fortunately, he arrived here as an adult, after finishing his undergraduate studies in Turkey.

    From Koc University.

    Read More
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  10. Ivy says:

    OT. Steve, have you seen a recent addition to correspondence after the signature line that includes a reference for pronouns?

    I saw the following in business correspondence. Pronouns: she/her/hers

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  11. donut says:
    @Yapius maximus
    I don’t get that last remark either.

    According to that book they made America, Edison would give these very difficult general knowledge question quizzes to his Prospective employees. He would have it tailored specifically to their bracket of work, for example he would ask carpenters, where is most of mahogany exported from? Answer: Bolivia. It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.
    Supposedly this method is roughly psychometric. And magazine interviewers, when they would interview edison, took to giving him surprise quizzes of this sort. Supposedly, his performance would correlate with an IQ of 190!

    Look for some stories about Adm. Rickover .

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. Anonym says:
    @Dan Hayes
    Yapius maximus:

    Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.

    Judgment, judgment, judgment.....

    If you can’t see salt on the french fries they haven’t been adequately salted IMO. No doubt Edison rejected a number of genius employees with a taste for salt.

    Read More
    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. newrouter says:
    @Yapius maximus
    I don’t get that last remark either.

    According to that book they made America, Edison would give these very difficult general knowledge question quizzes to his Prospective employees. He would have it tailored specifically to their bracket of work, for example he would ask carpenters, where is most of mahogany exported from? Answer: Bolivia. It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.
    Supposedly this method is roughly psychometric. And magazine interviewers, when they would interview edison, took to giving him surprise quizzes of this sort. Supposedly, his performance would correlate with an IQ of 190!

    ” It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.”

    Yea imagine interviewing for an engineering job and NOT knowing the density of air at STP and NOT being able to estimate the volume of the room and NOT knowing how to multiply. Dear Lord I need a safe space.(0.0765 lb/(cu ft)) according to ISA (International Standard Atmosphere).)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Yapius mac
    The mass of air I meant. You would need to know the percent of each element and their atomic masses, which happen to be diatomic molecules,not easy off the top of ones head, even for an arrogant person.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. newrouter says:
    @Dan Hayes
    Yapius maximus:

    Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.

    Judgment, judgment, judgment.....

    “Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.”

    Salt was the food preservative prior to mechanical refrigeration. So then yea. Today not so much about his judgement.

    Read More
    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. @Yapius maximus
    I don’t get that last remark either.

    According to that book they made America, Edison would give these very difficult general knowledge question quizzes to his Prospective employees. He would have it tailored specifically to their bracket of work, for example he would ask carpenters, where is most of mahogany exported from? Answer: Bolivia. It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room.
    Supposedly this method is roughly psychometric. And magazine interviewers, when they would interview edison, took to giving him surprise quizzes of this sort. Supposedly, his performance would correlate with an IQ of 190!

    My dad interviewed for a job with the General Land Office (now the Bureau of Land Management) in the late 1930s. He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights
     
    Just appraising his skill at triangulation.
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  16. @anonymous
    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow's election?

    MSM says it is a toss-up. So it has to be Moore.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  17. @Jack D
    Hard to tell the Finnish names from the Turkish names. Ufuk is an unfortunate choice - must have led to a lot of teasing at school.

    Ufuk is an unfortunate choice

    True, but his younger brother “Imafuk” (the I is a long E) overshadowed “Ufuk” in the category of “unfortunate” and permanently elevated “A Boy Named Sue” up to the second decile for worst names ever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Father O'Hara
    His cousin, Weefuk,was fired for sexual harassment.
    , @FPD72
    I think that Ima Hogg, the daughter of a former governor of Texas might win that contest for worst name, if the extent of public knowledge is taken into account.

    Although it’s hard to beat “Shithead” although pronounced Shi-thead.” My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.
    , @Bill Jones
    I think it was Gladwell or the other clown who commented on the unfortunate whose, no doubt historically accurate African name, pronounced Shteed was spelled Shithead on the birth certificate.
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  18. @newrouter
    " It would be a torrent of general weird questions like calculate the weight of the air this room."

    Yea imagine interviewing for an engineering job and NOT knowing the density of air at STP and NOT being able to estimate the volume of the room and NOT knowing how to multiply. Dear Lord I need a safe space.(0.0765 lb/(cu ft)) according to ISA (International Standard Atmosphere).)

    The mass of air I meant. You would need to know the percent of each element and their atomic masses, which happen to be diatomic molecules,not easy off the top of ones head, even for an arrogant person.

    Read More
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  19. @Pirelli
    I'm confused by the last sentence ("which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation"). Can someone smarter please explain that to me?

    Talents = people. A “misallocation of talents to innovation” means the wrong people are going into STEM.

    The study asks, “Does innovation attract the most talented individuals or is there misallocation of talents into innovation?” … “Misallocation means that a positive fraction of potential inventors are not performing as well as they could due to inadequate or insufficient parental support. Inadequate parental support may be especially harmful for highly talented individuals, eroding even further the utilization of the innovative potential of the economy. ”

    Graphs, from three different sources, in Figure 1 of the study show that when the income of Finnish parents/fathers is at 96-100% of the national income distribution, their children are four times as likely to become innovators as the children of parents/fathers with income at the 80% level. Two of the graphs show that parental/father income from 0% to 96% does not make that much of a difference in the likelihood of producing an innovator. My numbers aren’t exact but this is quite shocking.

    https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/aghion/files/social_origins_of_inventors.pdf

    Read More
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  20. Hail says: • Website
    @Pirelli
    I'm confused by the last sentence ("which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation"). Can someone smarter please explain that to me?

    a misallocation of talents to innovation

    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant “talent” (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the “(field of) innovation,” i.e. people working with ‘ideas’ and not with ‘things’ or ‘making things.’ One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are “high-IQ, high-father-income” and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to “R and D,” i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they’re doing, we’d all be better off.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    That's a good translation from Economese to English.

    I would add that I'm a little skeptical about the interpretation of the correlation between (father's income x IQ) and (innovation) being evidence of misallocation of innovative talent. From what I've seen, there's a lot more to innovating than just being smart. There's also an element of motivation or ambition, often even near-pathological obsession, that correlates with making the jump from "I've got a cool idea," to "Here's this cool thing I made." Parental income might be a good proxy for that being present in a family, genetically or otherwise.

    That said, Steve's talked at length about unambitious, smart white kids in flyover states, so I imagine the authors probably are picking up on some real misallocation, too.
    , @Chrisnonymous
    It seems like a leap to say all those high IQ, low father income kids are being misallocated. It's possible there are other heritable personality factors at work that explain both paternal low income and filial lack of innovation. Maybe you could investigate this to some extent by looking at the differences between the high income fathers of high IQ innovators vs non-innovators. What kinds of jobs do they have, are they self-made, etc?
    , @bartok
    Gentleman inventors? Maybe, but they could also be tech startup co-founders who are miscategorized as individuals (before they get a company name).

    Then there are Shark Tank-like consumer goods inventions. Rich people are far more likely to blow $10k getting a patent than are the 96%.
    , @res
    I think you have it. In the authors defense that quote was the abstract summarization and I think the more complete statement in the paper body is somewhat clearer.

    We then explore the potential complementarity between IQ and family background. We find a positive and significant interaction between the individual’s IQ and his father’s income, which in turn points to a potential source of misallocation: namely, a positive fraction of individuals with very high IQ will underperform as potential innovators due to inadequate parental background.
     
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  21. Patent counts don’t have anything to do with innovation. Large majority of patents go to certain corporate behemoths with scads of patent lawyers. They pre-emptively patent everything that moves, mostly defensively so that trolls can’t easily patent what they’re already doing out from under them and demand lawsuit settlements.

    If you end up working for IBM or 3M in an engineering job, they’ll make you file some patents. After the bureaucracy and lawyers are through with them, you probably won’t recognize them. Having your name on a lot of patents is a symptom of stagnating for years in such a job without ever making management or joining an innovative startup. Startups don’t have time to file so many patents; if they have any, they’re just a very few for key ideas.

    So this is a measure of who gets a certain kind of mid-pay, high job security, corporate nest. It’s not a measure of innovators.

    Scientists and entrepreneurs that actually invent new ideas are much less likely to have patents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Patent counts don’t have anything to do with innovation.

    Or it has some degree of correlation with True Innovation (whatever that is), and it's something we can count well.

    Also, Chetty's study looked at a subset of Important Patents and got roughly similar results as with overall patents.

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  22. @(((Owen)))
    Patent counts don’t have anything to do with innovation. Large majority of patents go to certain corporate behemoths with scads of patent lawyers. They pre-emptively patent everything that moves, mostly defensively so that trolls can’t easily patent what they’re already doing out from under them and demand lawsuit settlements.

    If you end up working for IBM or 3M in an engineering job, they’ll make you file some patents. After the bureaucracy and lawyers are through with them, you probably won’t recognize them. Having your name on a lot of patents is a symptom of stagnating for years in such a job without ever making management or joining an innovative startup. Startups don’t have time to file so many patents; if they have any, they’re just a very few for key ideas.

    So this is a measure of who gets a certain kind of mid-pay, high job security, corporate nest. It’s not a measure of innovators.

    Scientists and entrepreneurs that actually invent new ideas are much less likely to have patents.

    Patent counts don’t have anything to do with innovation.

    Or it has some degree of correlation with True Innovation (whatever that is), and it’s something we can count well.

    Also, Chetty’s study looked at a subset of Important Patents and got roughly similar results as with overall patents.

    Read More
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  23. @anonymous
    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow's election?

    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow’s election?

    Judge Moore wins.

    Read More
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  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Hail

    a misallocation of talents to innovation
     
    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant "talent" (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the "(field of) innovation," i.e. people working with 'ideas' and not with 'things' or 'making things.' One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are "high-IQ, high-father-income" and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to "R and D," i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they're doing, we'd all be better off.

    That’s a good translation from Economese to English.

    I would add that I’m a little skeptical about the interpretation of the correlation between (father’s income x IQ) and (innovation) being evidence of misallocation of innovative talent. From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot more to innovating than just being smart. There’s also an element of motivation or ambition, often even near-pathological obsession, that correlates with making the jump from “I’ve got a cool idea,” to “Here’s this cool thing I made.” Parental income might be a good proxy for that being present in a family, genetically or otherwise.

    That said, Steve’s talked at length about unambitious, smart white kids in flyover states, so I imagine the authors probably are picking up on some real misallocation, too.

    Read More
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  25. @Hail

    a misallocation of talents to innovation
     
    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant "talent" (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the "(field of) innovation," i.e. people working with 'ideas' and not with 'things' or 'making things.' One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are "high-IQ, high-father-income" and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to "R and D," i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they're doing, we'd all be better off.

    It seems like a leap to say all those high IQ, low father income kids are being misallocated. It’s possible there are other heritable personality factors at work that explain both paternal low income and filial lack of innovation. Maybe you could investigate this to some extent by looking at the differences between the high income fathers of high IQ innovators vs non-innovators. What kinds of jobs do they have, are they self-made, etc?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Or maybe being an inventor often requires both favorable Nature and favorable Nurture.

    Like a lot of NFL and Division I college quarterbacks are the sons of football coaches, or they are the sons of rich men who can pay for tons of tutoring in playing QB. It's a really competitive field so it helps to have both nature and nurture on your side.

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  26. @Chrisnonymous
    It seems like a leap to say all those high IQ, low father income kids are being misallocated. It's possible there are other heritable personality factors at work that explain both paternal low income and filial lack of innovation. Maybe you could investigate this to some extent by looking at the differences between the high income fathers of high IQ innovators vs non-innovators. What kinds of jobs do they have, are they self-made, etc?

    Or maybe being an inventor often requires both favorable Nature and favorable Nurture.

    Like a lot of NFL and Division I college quarterbacks are the sons of football coaches, or they are the sons of rich men who can pay for tons of tutoring in playing QB. It’s a really competitive field so it helps to have both nature and nurture on your side.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    The comparison with football is interesting as being QB is a pretty well-defined skill set with measurable goals. "Being innovative" seems like a much more complex research problem than height or being competitive for a pro sports job.

    It would help if the relationship between innovation and IQ were defined. For example, if we could say innovation was a natural outgrowth of unhindered high IQ, then we could say there was a Nuture problem akin to nutrient deficiency. But I doubt high IQ and innovation are related like that.

    Probably, Nurture plays an important role in innovation as in other things, but this still doesn't address the misallocation problem as (1) we don't know what kind of nurture is important and (2) opportunity cost.

    If we took low-income fathers with high IQ children and gave them top 5% big bucks, would their kids innovate at the same rate as "natural" 5%ers? (I don't suppose there are enough pairs of high IQ Finnish twins raised apart in which one is raised in the top 5% and the other in the bottom 95% to investigate.) If not, is there an allocation problem?

    What are high IQ non-innovators doing? Playing chess? Let's say we took all the chess and go masters and turned them into research scientists--could AI innovation progress as quickly without chess masters for computers to play against?
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  27. @anonymous
    Alabama anyone? Any readers down there with a feeling on tomorrow's election?

    I think most white Alabamians realize we need to elect a Republican, even if they’re not crazy about Roy Moore. Me, I’m crazy about him.

    Read More
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  28. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Its a bit interesting that the lead author, a Harvard chair professor, is also the son of a billionaire innovator. His mother founded the French fashion house, CHLOE.

    Read More
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  29. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Ufuk is an unfortunate choice
     
    True, but his younger brother "Imafuk" (the I is a long E) overshadowed "Ufuk" in the category of "unfortunate" and permanently elevated "A Boy Named Sue" up to the second decile for worst names ever.

    His cousin, Weefuk,was fired for sexual harassment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    His other cousin, Fukyu, gets beaten up every time someone asks him his name.
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  30. Benjaminl says:

    Semi-off topic: New study by Stuart Ritchie on education raising IQ.

    As far as I can recall, wacko extremists like Mr. Sailer have always suggested that a 50/50 ratio of nature and nurture (i.e. genes and education) is probably a wise bet.

    Read More
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  31. FPD72 says:
    @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Ufuk is an unfortunate choice
     
    True, but his younger brother "Imafuk" (the I is a long E) overshadowed "Ufuk" in the category of "unfortunate" and permanently elevated "A Boy Named Sue" up to the second decile for worst names ever.

    I think that Ima Hogg, the daughter of a former governor of Texas might win that contest for worst name, if the extent of public knowledge is taken into account.

    Although it’s hard to beat “Shithead” although pronounced Shi-thead.” My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.
     
    LOL! So it is supposed to be similar to a slight lisp "He thead Shi thead?" I though L-a (La-dash-a) was bad, but this has to be pretty close to the top.
    , @Old Palo Altan
    My grandmother travelled across the Atlantic with her in the 20's; said the poor old thing kept rather to herself during the voyage.
    , @bartok
    Ima and Ura Hogg may have enjoyed their names - they donated named buildings to U of Texas, etc.
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  32. Jack D says:
    @Father O'Hara
    His cousin, Weefuk,was fired for sexual harassment.

    His other cousin, Fukyu, gets beaten up every time someone asks him his name.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Olorin
    In South Philly he'd more likely have the other person repeat his name back in a slightly louder voice, prefaced with "Yo, well...."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  33. @Steve Sailer
    Or maybe being an inventor often requires both favorable Nature and favorable Nurture.

    Like a lot of NFL and Division I college quarterbacks are the sons of football coaches, or they are the sons of rich men who can pay for tons of tutoring in playing QB. It's a really competitive field so it helps to have both nature and nurture on your side.

    The comparison with football is interesting as being QB is a pretty well-defined skill set with measurable goals. “Being innovative” seems like a much more complex research problem than height or being competitive for a pro sports job.

    It would help if the relationship between innovation and IQ were defined. For example, if we could say innovation was a natural outgrowth of unhindered high IQ, then we could say there was a Nuture problem akin to nutrient deficiency. But I doubt high IQ and innovation are related like that.

    Probably, Nurture plays an important role in innovation as in other things, but this still doesn’t address the misallocation problem as (1) we don’t know what kind of nurture is important and (2) opportunity cost.

    If we took low-income fathers with high IQ children and gave them top 5% big bucks, would their kids innovate at the same rate as “natural” 5%ers? (I don’t suppose there are enough pairs of high IQ Finnish twins raised apart in which one is raised in the top 5% and the other in the bottom 95% to investigate.) If not, is there an allocation problem?

    What are high IQ non-innovators doing? Playing chess? Let’s say we took all the chess and go masters and turned them into research scientists–could AI innovation progress as quickly without chess masters for computers to play against?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Similarly, "creative" is hard to define. For example, is James Cameron creative?

    I'd say, yeah, of course, but I'm sure others would disagree.

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  34. @Chrisnonymous
    The comparison with football is interesting as being QB is a pretty well-defined skill set with measurable goals. "Being innovative" seems like a much more complex research problem than height or being competitive for a pro sports job.

    It would help if the relationship between innovation and IQ were defined. For example, if we could say innovation was a natural outgrowth of unhindered high IQ, then we could say there was a Nuture problem akin to nutrient deficiency. But I doubt high IQ and innovation are related like that.

    Probably, Nurture plays an important role in innovation as in other things, but this still doesn't address the misallocation problem as (1) we don't know what kind of nurture is important and (2) opportunity cost.

    If we took low-income fathers with high IQ children and gave them top 5% big bucks, would their kids innovate at the same rate as "natural" 5%ers? (I don't suppose there are enough pairs of high IQ Finnish twins raised apart in which one is raised in the top 5% and the other in the bottom 95% to investigate.) If not, is there an allocation problem?

    What are high IQ non-innovators doing? Playing chess? Let's say we took all the chess and go masters and turned them into research scientists--could AI innovation progress as quickly without chess masters for computers to play against?

    Similarly, “creative” is hard to define. For example, is James Cameron creative?

    I’d say, yeah, of course, but I’m sure others would disagree.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Similarly, “creative” is hard to define.

     

    Yes, indeed. In the education field, there is a recurring mania to 'teach' kids to be 'creative'. No one involved, when pressed, has more than the faintest idea of what this means.
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  35. @FPD72
    I think that Ima Hogg, the daughter of a former governor of Texas might win that contest for worst name, if the extent of public knowledge is taken into account.

    Although it’s hard to beat “Shithead” although pronounced Shi-thead.” My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.

    My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.

    LOL! So it is supposed to be similar to a slight lisp “He thead Shi thead?” I though L-a (La-dash-a) was bad, but this has to be pretty close to the top.

    Read More
    • Replies: @nebulafox
    I think L-a is an urban myth... though I do know someone who worked for a ghetto hospital who swore that the government should forbid crackheads from naming their children. This among other lovely stories, like how "identical twin brothers" would be born, and one would be named after the father... only to figure out that, wait, no, that's not his father, and the boys are really half-brothers.

    So, yeah. Twins with different fathers. How touching.

    (In fairness, this goes for methheads in trailer parks, too. You name your kid Cletus, you might as well name him Government Welfare, really.)

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  36. Olorin says:
    @Dan Hayes
    Yapius maximus:

    Supposedly Edison would immediately reject any interviewees taken to lunch who salted their food before food tasting.

    Judgment, judgment, judgment.....

    In a hiring situation for an innovation factory I’d say this detail makes perfect sense, if true:

    Someone who encounters the world with prejudgments such as “this needs salt before I’ve tasted it” is likely to make other prejudgments that could get in the way of open innovative observation/experimentation. Coming in to any meal demonstrating categorical thinking like “all food is undersalted” also bespeaks a lack of curiosity…or ability to distinguish.

    In Zen the goal is “beginner mind.” Being completely open, aware, and curious down to the smallest detail. Unfettered/unlimited by prior assumptions. Some people come by that more or less naturally. We call it a form of scientific genius. Trying not to impose assumptions on reality, or more accurately to understand the imposition and break it into testable chunks. The courage to disprove your convictions.

    Old guy I knew in West Orange whose dad worked at Raritan/Menlo Park said his dad said that TAE was very particular about food–eating just enough of the right kinds, on a fixed schedule, and it of good quality and appropriate amount.

    All sorts of stories circulated about his eating quirks…but we know that people love inventing and telling that kind of story about people they don’t understand. It’s a way for them to hitch a ride with the large, incomprehensible hull by cementing their barnacle to it.

    This can be managed as a convenient form of misdirection: gives them something to talk about/attend to while the work proceeds. Otherwise, pitchforks and pitch torches. Such folks can’t understand the complicated stuff anyway, so help them focus on the little stuff. How many scoops/Diet Cokes. The wrong way to eat KFC. The camo of clickbait.

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes
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  37. Olorin says:
    @Jack D
    His other cousin, Fukyu, gets beaten up every time someone asks him his name.

    In South Philly he’d more likely have the other person repeat his name back in a slightly louder voice, prefaced with “Yo, well….”

    Read More
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  38. nebulafox says:
    @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.
     
    LOL! So it is supposed to be similar to a slight lisp "He thead Shi thead?" I though L-a (La-dash-a) was bad, but this has to be pretty close to the top.

    I think L-a is an urban myth… though I do know someone who worked for a ghetto hospital who swore that the government should forbid crackheads from naming their children. This among other lovely stories, like how “identical twin brothers” would be born, and one would be named after the father… only to figure out that, wait, no, that’s not his father, and the boys are really half-brothers.

    So, yeah. Twins with different fathers. How touching.

    (In fairness, this goes for methheads in trailer parks, too. You name your kid Cletus, you might as well name him Government Welfare, really.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ivy
    Female, pronounced like a Mexican dish, tamale. Detroit mom in the late 1970s said she thought the hospital had assigned a name since she saw Female written on the form. So told to me by a former Motown social worker.
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  39. @FPD72
    I think that Ima Hogg, the daughter of a former governor of Texas might win that contest for worst name, if the extent of public knowledge is taken into account.

    Although it’s hard to beat “Shithead” although pronounced Shi-thead.” My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.

    My grandmother travelled across the Atlantic with her in the 20′s; said the poor old thing kept rather to herself during the voyage.

    Read More
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  40. Read More
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  41. @PiltdownMan
    My dad interviewed for a job with the General Land Office (now the Bureau of Land Management) in the late 1930s. He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights.

    He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights

    Just appraising his skill at triangulation.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Robert Hume

    He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights
     
    Count floors and multiply by 10 feet?
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  42. @Charles Erwin Wilson II

    Ufuk is an unfortunate choice
     
    True, but his younger brother "Imafuk" (the I is a long E) overshadowed "Ufuk" in the category of "unfortunate" and permanently elevated "A Boy Named Sue" up to the second decile for worst names ever.

    I think it was Gladwell or the other clown who commented on the unfortunate whose, no doubt historically accurate African name, pronounced Shteed was spelled Shithead on the birth certificate.

    Read More
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  43. @Steve Sailer
    Similarly, "creative" is hard to define. For example, is James Cameron creative?

    I'd say, yeah, of course, but I'm sure others would disagree.

    Similarly, “creative” is hard to define.

    Yes, indeed. In the education field, there is a recurring mania to ‘teach’ kids to be ‘creative’. No one involved, when pressed, has more than the faintest idea of what this means.

    Read More
    • Agree: Triumph104
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  44. Ivy says:
    @nebulafox
    I think L-a is an urban myth... though I do know someone who worked for a ghetto hospital who swore that the government should forbid crackheads from naming their children. This among other lovely stories, like how "identical twin brothers" would be born, and one would be named after the father... only to figure out that, wait, no, that's not his father, and the boys are really half-brothers.

    So, yeah. Twins with different fathers. How touching.

    (In fairness, this goes for methheads in trailer parks, too. You name your kid Cletus, you might as well name him Government Welfare, really.)

    Female, pronounced like a Mexican dish, tamale. Detroit mom in the late 1970s said she thought the hospital had assigned a name since she saw Female written on the form. So told to me by a former Motown social worker.

    Read More
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  45. bartok says:
    @Hail

    a misallocation of talents to innovation
     
    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant "talent" (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the "(field of) innovation," i.e. people working with 'ideas' and not with 'things' or 'making things.' One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are "high-IQ, high-father-income" and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to "R and D," i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they're doing, we'd all be better off.

    Gentleman inventors? Maybe, but they could also be tech startup co-founders who are miscategorized as individuals (before they get a company name).

    Then there are Shark Tank-like consumer goods inventions. Rich people are far more likely to blow $10k getting a patent than are the 96%.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hail

    Rich people are far more likely to blow $10k getting a patent than are the 96%.
     
    Why a 4% cutoff for 'rich'?
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  46. bartok says:
    @FPD72
    I think that Ima Hogg, the daughter of a former governor of Texas might win that contest for worst name, if the extent of public knowledge is taken into account.

    Although it’s hard to beat “Shithead” although pronounced Shi-thead.” My daughter saw one example of that while working at a hospital in south Dallas.

    Ima and Ura Hogg may have enjoyed their names – they donated named buildings to U of Texas, etc.

    Read More
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  47. @Reg Cæsar

    He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights
     
    Just appraising his skill at triangulation.

    He said the interviewer pointed to various buildings and a hilltop through his office window and asked my dad to estimate their heights

    Count floors and multiply by 10 feet?

    Read More
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  48. Hail says: • Website
    @bartok
    Gentleman inventors? Maybe, but they could also be tech startup co-founders who are miscategorized as individuals (before they get a company name).

    Then there are Shark Tank-like consumer goods inventions. Rich people are far more likely to blow $10k getting a patent than are the 96%.

    Rich people are far more likely to blow $10k getting a patent than are the 96%.

    Why a 4% cutoff for ‘rich’?

    Read More
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  49. Lagertha says:

    Whatever. Finns are the only who fought the confused.

    Read More
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  50. res says:
    @Hail

    a misallocation of talents to innovation
     
    I suspect a non-native-English-speaker author behind that phrase. He or she will have meant "talent" (no plural), i.e., people, and will have meant to the "(field of) innovation," i.e. people working with 'ideas' and not with 'things' or 'making things.' One language mistake and one awkward-phrasing.

    In other words, the implication is that a disproportionate share of inventors are "high-IQ, high-father-income" and comparatively fewer are high-IQ, low-father-income people, which means potential ability is being left on the table (i.e., misallocated). Society has failed to allocate low-SES/high-IQ youth at a high enough degree to "R and D," i.e., innovation. If these people were all put to work on innovating instead of whatever else they're doing, we'd all be better off.

    I think you have it. In the authors defense that quote was the abstract summarization and I think the more complete statement in the paper body is somewhat clearer.

    We then explore the potential complementarity between IQ and family background. We find a positive and significant interaction between the individual’s IQ and his father’s income, which in turn points to a potential source of misallocation: namely, a positive fraction of individuals with very high IQ will underperform as potential innovators due to inadequate parental background.

    Read More
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