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From the Washington Post:

Downward mobility: Where middle-class kids are worse off than their parents

By Christopher Ingraham

October 2

This week, a team of economists led by Raj Chetty of Harvard University released a massive new data set on prosperity at the neighborhood level in the United States. Called the Opportunity Atlas, the data builds on Chetty and company’s previous work on inequality and opportunity, tracing, block by block, how the environments children grow up in shape who they become as adults.

Much of the focus in media and policy circles has been on the plight of children from low-income families, and the social and economic barriers preventing them from pulling themselves out of poverty. But the data released this week strongly suggests that the same forces holding lower-class kids back are creating difficulties for middle- and upper-class families, as well.

It’s almost as if regression toward the mean applies to everybody. But the notion that whites and blacks regress toward different mean incomes seems to be largely inconceivable in the five years that Chetty has been publishing his maps showing … whites and black regressing toward different mean incomes.

Consider, a child born between 1979 and 1983 to a middle-class family with an income right in the middle of the U.S. income distribution — what economists call the 50th income percentile, or about $55,000 in 2015 dollars. Because family income has a huge effect on children’s eventual outcomes as adults, we’d expect that child to end up more or less in the 50th income percentile when they grow up.

At the national level, that’s true: The average child born to a 50th percentile family in the early 1980s ends up exactly at the 50th percentile today. But if you drill down beyond the national average, you find that children’s outcomes vary significantly by where they grew up. In some parts of the country, middle-income children tend to end up much higher in the income distribution than their parents’ level. In these places, the dream of ending up better off than your parents is still very much alive.

In other places, however, middle-income children tend to end up worse off than their parents. Sometimes, significantly so.

The map below shows how these trends shake out geographically. On average, kids in the Northern Plains, the Mountain West, and parts of the Northeast end up better off than their parents. Kids in much of the Southeast, Southwest and Alaska, on the other hand, end up worse.

Once again, much of this has to do with regional booms and busts. The notion that the Northern Plains were a hotbed of upward income mobility would have sounded odd in the 1980s, while the notion that North Carolina is a tarpit of downward mobility would have seemed odd in the 1990s. But times change.

The effect of geography on children’s outcomes is fairly significant. In nearly every county in the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia, for instance, the typical middle-class kid ends up several notches down the economic ladder from their parents. In states such as Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas, on the other hand, the opposite is true.

Once again, some of this is due to the different races regressing to different mean incomes over the generations.

In D.C. proper, the map shows a stark dividing line between the northwest section of the city and everywhere else. Middle-class kids in the northwest, like their peers in Fairfax and Montgomery counties, tend to end up better off than their parents by the time they’re adults. But kids in the northeast and southeast, like kids in much of Prince George’s County, tend to end up worse.

Prince George’s County is famously prosperous for a black-dominated county, but it’s still black-dominated and blacks regress toward lower mean incomes than whites.

A middle-class kid growing up in parts of Chevy Chase, Md., for instance, can expect to earn upward of $70,000 a year as an adult. A middle-class kid growing up several miles away in Barry Farm, in the southeast, can expect an average adult income of $18,000 a year.

But the kid growing up in Chevy Chase (which I believe was the second highest income neighborhood in America in 1960 after Beverly Hills) in a family only making the national median income probably had some grandparents who were considerably richer than the kid’s parents, while the family making the median income but living in a bad slum in D.C. is probably the wealthiest part of a poor extended family.

Another important thing to note: Until a few weeks ago, these data sets didn’t even exist. The implication is that our understanding of how places shape who we are and how we live is still in its infancy.

Galton didn’t come up with the idea of regression toward the mean until the 1880s, and an awful lot of people still don’t find it second nature to think in those terms.

 
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  1. Regression towards the mean is math stuff. If reporters liked doing math stuff, they would do or teach, rather than report.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    That's giving them too much credit. They don't even report; they journalize. Like middle school girls and diaries. Reporting would involve things like publicising Dr. Blasey-Ford's FBI/Comey friend/co-conspirator or Haven Monhan's non-existence. Instead they actively suppress facts while inundating us with their Feelings.
    , @415 reasons
    It’s not just that it’s math. It’s that you have to have a genetic determinism worldview and be willing to consider crimethink about race. Once you do that, while these patterns are still not obvious, they are not shocking and quite readily explained by what we already knew about the world.
  2. Aren’t you comparing family income to individual income, 55,000 to 18,000? A couple regressed to this mean would be worth about 36,000/yr still lower than their parents but not so drastically. Something seems to be missing.

  3. Anonymous[739] • Disclaimer says:

    OT

    No apologies:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/45766576

    Scientists condemn professor’s ‘morally reprehensible’ talk

    … “Strumia’s arguments are morally reprehensible,” it reads. “Belittling the ability and legitimacy of scientists of colour and white women scientists using such flimsy pretexts is disgraceful, and it reveals a deep contempt for more than half of humanity that clearly comes from some source other than scientific logic.”

    … In response, Prof Strumia told BBC News that the high-energy physics community was about 100 times bigger than the number that have so far signed the statement.

    He said that the signatories “mostly come from those countries more affected by political correctness, which I indicated as the problem. This is what leads to academicians that want (to get) others fired for having ‘morally reprehensible’ ideas”.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    Anyone who uses "woman/women" as an adjective has no legitimacy in any respect whatsoever.
    , @Dan Hayes
    Anonymous[739]:

    Strumia demonstrates that noble Italians did not all expire with the demise of noble Roman legionnaires.
  4. @Anonymous
    OT

    No apologies:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/45766576

    Scientists condemn professor's 'morally reprehensible' talk

    ... "Strumia's arguments are morally reprehensible," it reads. "Belittling the ability and legitimacy of scientists of colour and white women scientists using such flimsy pretexts is disgraceful, and it reveals a deep contempt for more than half of humanity that clearly comes from some source other than scientific logic."

    ... In response, Prof Strumia told BBC News that the high-energy physics community was about 100 times bigger than the number that have so far signed the statement.

    He said that the signatories "mostly come from those countries more affected by political correctness, which I indicated as the problem. This is what leads to academicians that want (to get) others fired for having 'morally reprehensible' ideas".

     

    Anyone who uses “woman/women” as an adjective has no legitimacy in any respect whatsoever.

  5. @Anonymous
    OT

    No apologies:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/45766576

    Scientists condemn professor's 'morally reprehensible' talk

    ... "Strumia's arguments are morally reprehensible," it reads. "Belittling the ability and legitimacy of scientists of colour and white women scientists using such flimsy pretexts is disgraceful, and it reveals a deep contempt for more than half of humanity that clearly comes from some source other than scientific logic."

    ... In response, Prof Strumia told BBC News that the high-energy physics community was about 100 times bigger than the number that have so far signed the statement.

    He said that the signatories "mostly come from those countries more affected by political correctness, which I indicated as the problem. This is what leads to academicians that want (to get) others fired for having 'morally reprehensible' ideas".

     

    Anonymous[739]:

    Strumia demonstrates that noble Italians did not all expire with the demise of noble Roman legionnaires.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Wasn't that also shown in an episode of The Sopranos?
  6. How much of it is also just economics changing. What may have been something your parents were good at may not pay so much anymore. A lot of coding has gone that way.

  7. Few people seem to be able to think statistically. Then again few people are even basically numerate.

    • Replies: @Mike1
    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I'm tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD's from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don't understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can't do math like 20 + 30 in his head.
    , @Saxon
    Yes but that's not what this advocacy research is about. They're not interested in the actual causal factors of all of this. It's about pointing and sputtering, then using pre-existing dogmatics about inequality (spoilers: it's whitey's fault even though they can't prove the claim) in order to claim that the inequalities still exist and are *gasp* worse than ever, so we need to clip every white male's balls and double down on anti-white policies. Heads I win, tails you lose.
  8. @Dan Hayes
    Anonymous[739]:

    Strumia demonstrates that noble Italians did not all expire with the demise of noble Roman legionnaires.

    Wasn’t that also shown in an episode of The Sopranos?

    • Agree: Dan Hayes
  9. Anonymous [AKA "anon-y-mous"] says:

    Did the study control for achievements of parents? I mean biological parents.
    Lower and lower middle classes (and increasingly upper) are infected by illegitimacy, single motherhood and anything alike. Well, and women in such cases do not choose men for their ability to reach up. So, regression to parents’ abilities instead.

  10. Off topic – Steve, did you ever check out Marginal Revolutions Complacent Class (I think that’s the name)? From what I’ve heard his thesis is that people don’t move enough anymore. Or something. This Chetty talk of some places being better than others brought it to mind. We just need everyone to go where the opportunities are and voila!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Chetty's analysis proves that if only people moved to places that unexpectedly happen to be booming 15 years in the future, then all would be swell. For example, working class families in 1996-2000 that were prospering by living and working in the booming Myrtle Beach golf resort in the Carolinas should have uprooted their families and moved to North Dakota so that their kids could have prospered in 2011-2012 in the fracking boom. Of course, fracking hadn't been invented yet in 1996-2000, but working class families just need to develop the kind of skills that would help them get high-paying jobs at the Renaissance hedge fund if they weren't busy drilling holes in North Dakota. Model your career on Nick Patterson's.
  11. The red bits there in n va and near the Potomac river are areas in which young couples leave when they start having kids. The explanation, always: “the schools.”

    Darned schools!

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Here in the Peoples' Republic west of the river, there is a school that local realtors say will add $20-50k to the value of your house if it is in that district. Good schools, indeed. Only $19k+ per kid per year.

    OT: just spent a week cruising from Montreal to Boston with Mark Steyn and a couple hundred right wing nut jobs. It was a lot of fun.

    Several times when the subject of immigration came up, I pointed out that countries like Somalia with an average IQ of 75 were not smart enough to run, much less build, a modern society, and that importing these people added nothing to the USA. The response was always crickets.
  12. @Redneck farmer
    Regression towards the mean is math stuff. If reporters liked doing math stuff, they would do or teach, rather than report.

    That’s giving them too much credit. They don’t even report; they journalize. Like middle school girls and diaries. Reporting would involve things like publicising Dr. Blasey-Ford’s FBI/Comey friend/co-conspirator or Haven Monhan’s non-existence. Instead they actively suppress facts while inundating us with their Feelings.

  13. @asdf
    Off topic - Steve, did you ever check out Marginal Revolutions Complacent Class (I think that's the name)? From what I've heard his thesis is that people don't move enough anymore. Or something. This Chetty talk of some places being better than others brought it to mind. We just need everyone to go where the opportunities are and voila!

    Chetty’s analysis proves that if only people moved to places that unexpectedly happen to be booming 15 years in the future, then all would be swell. For example, working class families in 1996-2000 that were prospering by living and working in the booming Myrtle Beach golf resort in the Carolinas should have uprooted their families and moved to North Dakota so that their kids could have prospered in 2011-2012 in the fracking boom. Of course, fracking hadn’t been invented yet in 1996-2000, but working class families just need to develop the kind of skills that would help them get high-paying jobs at the Renaissance hedge fund if they weren’t busy drilling holes in North Dakota. Model your career on Nick Patterson’s.

    • Replies: @Buck Turgidson
    Steve, Variants of fracking methods have been used for decades, going back well before the 1990s. Several new methods and technologies -- especially horizontal drilling -- all helped improve efficiencies and capacity tremendously and have supported its great successes over the past 15-20 years.
    , @Intelligent Dasein
    Hydraulic fracturing was invented in the 1940s, Steve.

    The first experimental oil well frac occurred in 1947, and the first commercial application took place shortly thereafter, in 1950. Analogues of the technique go back immeasurably far into the past. The Romans were diverting rivers in order to frac mine shafts 2,000 years ago.
    , @ic1000
    Last week, I heard NPR's All Things Consider present the latest Chetty research. Based on the credulousness of her segment, the reporter would have had a hard time understanding Steve's sarcasm in the linked comment. (And elsewhere.) I suppose there are two reasons: innumeracy, and a touching faith in the Wisdom Of Scientists Who Support The Narrative.
  14. Always good for a laugh – reporters parrot the Chetty stuff but wouldn’t dare spend a week embedded in a place like Barry Farm. If they did, it would be tough to ignore the fact that there would be a massive gap between the reporter’s own intelligence and the average person in that neighborhood, that the place is a total wreck with people dropping trash wherever is convenient rather than the trashcans that are nearby, and the cultural behavior of the oppressed when it comes to sex, work, lawbreaking and recreation is about as far from the reporter’s own as can be imagined in the same city.

    Having lived in or having spend a lot of time in half a dozen large US cities, it has also been impossible to ignore the fact that the quality of the average low income person varies a bit as well. DC is home to some of the dumbest people – and in significant numbers – I have ever seen, with Baltimore and perhaps Milwaukee also in the running. Even the WaPo sometimes kinda notices, like when it periodically discovers that low income black kids in other East Coast cities typically test at a grade level or two above the hometown ones.

    • Replies: @Ed
    The thing is too you can now see Barry Farms from the gleaming new developments around Nat Park & soccer stadium across the river.

    Also Barry Farms is now virtually empty after moving out residents for a rehab, which has now been halted by the courts.
  15. @Steve Sailer
    Chetty's analysis proves that if only people moved to places that unexpectedly happen to be booming 15 years in the future, then all would be swell. For example, working class families in 1996-2000 that were prospering by living and working in the booming Myrtle Beach golf resort in the Carolinas should have uprooted their families and moved to North Dakota so that their kids could have prospered in 2011-2012 in the fracking boom. Of course, fracking hadn't been invented yet in 1996-2000, but working class families just need to develop the kind of skills that would help them get high-paying jobs at the Renaissance hedge fund if they weren't busy drilling holes in North Dakota. Model your career on Nick Patterson's.

    Steve, Variants of fracking methods have been used for decades, going back well before the 1990s. Several new methods and technologies — especially horizontal drilling — all helped improve efficiencies and capacity tremendously and have supported its great successes over the past 15-20 years.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Those working class families who were making good money building golf course condos in Myrtle Beach in 1996 should have foreseen the development of horizontal drilling and decamped for North Carolina.
  16. @Buck Turgidson
    Steve, Variants of fracking methods have been used for decades, going back well before the 1990s. Several new methods and technologies -- especially horizontal drilling -- all helped improve efficiencies and capacity tremendously and have supported its great successes over the past 15-20 years.

    Those working class families who were making good money building golf course condos in Myrtle Beach in 1996 should have foreseen the development of horizontal drilling and decamped for North Carolina.

  17. In DC, many blacks’ incomes are inflated by gov’t jobs. So the regression may be more pronounced here. I think I read somewhere that a majority of low level fed gov workers live in PG.

    • Replies: @Citizen of a Silly Country
    This.

    In PG county, it's not just regression to the mean. The majority (the vast majority?) of these households are earning far more than the residents' IQs merit. Many of PG blacks hold stupid degrees from terrible colleges, but their degrees qualify them for fairly high-paying federal (sometimes DC or PG) government jobs. Their IQs are at best ~100. Smart for blacks but not deserving of a $100k a year job.

    Their kids fall back to low to mid 90s IQ, which makes even the easiest college major at some terrible black college difficult. Throw in a lack of conscientiousness and college just doesn't happen.

    The kids don't qualify for sweet, make-work jobs and thus end up making what someone with a 92 IQ and bad work ethic would make. It's a double drop for these kids: 1) regression to the mean and 2) not getting extra, unearned income that their parents received by working for the federal government.

    This is also why so many parts of PG county are so nasty despite having supposedly well-educated blacks living there.
  18. @Arclight
    Always good for a laugh - reporters parrot the Chetty stuff but wouldn't dare spend a week embedded in a place like Barry Farm. If they did, it would be tough to ignore the fact that there would be a massive gap between the reporter's own intelligence and the average person in that neighborhood, that the place is a total wreck with people dropping trash wherever is convenient rather than the trashcans that are nearby, and the cultural behavior of the oppressed when it comes to sex, work, lawbreaking and recreation is about as far from the reporter's own as can be imagined in the same city.

    Having lived in or having spend a lot of time in half a dozen large US cities, it has also been impossible to ignore the fact that the quality of the average low income person varies a bit as well. DC is home to some of the dumbest people - and in significant numbers - I have ever seen, with Baltimore and perhaps Milwaukee also in the running. Even the WaPo sometimes kinda notices, like when it periodically discovers that low income black kids in other East Coast cities typically test at a grade level or two above the hometown ones.

    The thing is too you can now see Barry Farms from the gleaming new developments around Nat Park & soccer stadium across the river.

    Also Barry Farms is now virtually empty after moving out residents for a rehab, which has now been halted by the courts.

  19. @Redneck farmer
    Regression towards the mean is math stuff. If reporters liked doing math stuff, they would do or teach, rather than report.

    It’s not just that it’s math. It’s that you have to have a genetic determinism worldview and be willing to consider crimethink about race. Once you do that, while these patterns are still not obvious, they are not shocking and quite readily explained by what we already knew about the world.

  20. @Steve Sailer
    Chetty's analysis proves that if only people moved to places that unexpectedly happen to be booming 15 years in the future, then all would be swell. For example, working class families in 1996-2000 that were prospering by living and working in the booming Myrtle Beach golf resort in the Carolinas should have uprooted their families and moved to North Dakota so that their kids could have prospered in 2011-2012 in the fracking boom. Of course, fracking hadn't been invented yet in 1996-2000, but working class families just need to develop the kind of skills that would help them get high-paying jobs at the Renaissance hedge fund if they weren't busy drilling holes in North Dakota. Model your career on Nick Patterson's.

    Hydraulic fracturing was invented in the 1940s, Steve.

    The first experimental oil well frac occurred in 1947, and the first commercial application took place shortly thereafter, in 1950. Analogues of the technique go back immeasurably far into the past. The Romans were diverting rivers in order to frac mine shafts 2,000 years ago.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You may well have set the world record for the plunge for distance from Steve’s point.

    Well sperged!
  21. “ The implication is that our understanding of how places shape who we are and how we live is still in its infancy.”
    There it is folks, a MSM pundit openly calling for the explication of a grand unified theory of Magic Dirt. They literally believe this stuff. Larry Niven must be proud.

  22. @Buck Turgidson
    The red bits there in n va and near the Potomac river are areas in which young couples leave when they start having kids. The explanation, always: "the schools."

    Darned schools!

    Here in the Peoples’ Republic west of the river, there is a school that local realtors say will add $20-50k to the value of your house if it is in that district. Good schools, indeed. Only $19k+ per kid per year.

    OT: just spent a week cruising from Montreal to Boston with Mark Steyn and a couple hundred right wing nut jobs. It was a lot of fun.

    Several times when the subject of immigration came up, I pointed out that countries like Somalia with an average IQ of 75 were not smart enough to run, much less build, a modern society, and that importing these people added nothing to the USA. The response was always crickets.

  23. @AndrewR
    Few people seem to be able to think statistically. Then again few people are even basically numerate.

    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I’m tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD’s from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don’t understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can’t do math like 20 + 30 in his head.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
    That's horrifying...
    , @The Wild Geese Howard
    Mother of God, that is horrific.

    I mean, I thought my knowledge of mathematics had decayed to unacceptable levels for someone with two engineering degrees, but I can still do some basic trig and calculus by hand or in my head.

    That said, I am vehemently against the introduction of calculators and computers too soon in a student's intellectual development.

    Doing mathematics by hand helps develop neural pathways that lead to deeper understanding of the subject. Typing the numbers and symbols into a machine fails to stimulate this cognitive development.

    I firmly believe that my own grasp of trigonometry was negatively affected by the availability of affordable graphing calculators in the mid-90s. Sadly, I was too young to understand the negative impact at that time.
    , @jim jones
    I know a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering who has to phone me up to change her light bulbs
    , @Redneck farmer
    Ever watch a "knowledgeable" person when you tell them 1% of the population equals millions of people? Or my favorite sarcastic observation that the "middle class" people "hurting" from last year's tax reform are starving to death on more than twice the median national income.
  24. Are you really so oblivious to what monetary and fiscal policy has done to the economy since the 1970’s? The beneficiaries aren’t regressing to any mean.

    Read a book, why don’t you.

  25. @Ed
    In DC, many blacks’ incomes are inflated by gov’t jobs. So the regression may be more pronounced here. I think I read somewhere that a majority of low level fed gov workers live in PG.

    This.

    In PG county, it’s not just regression to the mean. The majority (the vast majority?) of these households are earning far more than the residents’ IQs merit. Many of PG blacks hold stupid degrees from terrible colleges, but their degrees qualify them for fairly high-paying federal (sometimes DC or PG) government jobs. Their IQs are at best ~100. Smart for blacks but not deserving of a $100k a year job.

    Their kids fall back to low to mid 90s IQ, which makes even the easiest college major at some terrible black college difficult. Throw in a lack of conscientiousness and college just doesn’t happen.

    The kids don’t qualify for sweet, make-work jobs and thus end up making what someone with a 92 IQ and bad work ethic would make. It’s a double drop for these kids: 1) regression to the mean and 2) not getting extra, unearned income that their parents received by working for the federal government.

    This is also why so many parts of PG county are so nasty despite having supposedly well-educated blacks living there.

    • Replies: @Ed
    I think there is one public high school in PG county that scores above the nationwide mean in the SATs. Elenor Roosevelt which is the selection high school in the county.

    In fairness though even before PG became majority black it was underwhelming academically and considered the backward county of the region.
  26. Put a flame underneath a thermometer when the weather gets freezing cold. It will make the temperature rise.

  27. @Steve Sailer
    Chetty's analysis proves that if only people moved to places that unexpectedly happen to be booming 15 years in the future, then all would be swell. For example, working class families in 1996-2000 that were prospering by living and working in the booming Myrtle Beach golf resort in the Carolinas should have uprooted their families and moved to North Dakota so that their kids could have prospered in 2011-2012 in the fracking boom. Of course, fracking hadn't been invented yet in 1996-2000, but working class families just need to develop the kind of skills that would help them get high-paying jobs at the Renaissance hedge fund if they weren't busy drilling holes in North Dakota. Model your career on Nick Patterson's.

    Last week, I heard NPR’s All Things Consider present the latest Chetty research. Based on the credulousness of her segment, the reporter would have had a hard time understanding Steve’s sarcasm in the linked comment. (And elsewhere.) I suppose there are two reasons: innumeracy, and a touching faith in the Wisdom Of Scientists Who Support The Narrative.

  28. @Mike1
    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I'm tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD's from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don't understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can't do math like 20 + 30 in his head.

    That’s horrifying…

  29. I was born in DC and, much of my life, lived primarily in the Western (better) part of that map 😀 My relevant (?) comment is that the red areas of the DC area map correlate largely with the poorer, Blacker areas and this holds at least back to the 1960s.

  30. In the social sciences, there comes a point when you have to either start lying or commit professional seppuku. It seems Chetty chose early on the first avenue.
    Of course, with the Overton Window constantly veering leftwards, anybody in the field may find himself Watsoned at any point. What used to be acceptable a week ago no longer is and then you might as well be dead in a professional sense.
    Go East, young man! (Rusia, China or Japan).

  31. @Mike1
    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I'm tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD's from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don't understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can't do math like 20 + 30 in his head.

    Mother of God, that is horrific.

    I mean, I thought my knowledge of mathematics had decayed to unacceptable levels for someone with two engineering degrees, but I can still do some basic trig and calculus by hand or in my head.

    That said, I am vehemently against the introduction of calculators and computers too soon in a student’s intellectual development.

    Doing mathematics by hand helps develop neural pathways that lead to deeper understanding of the subject. Typing the numbers and symbols into a machine fails to stimulate this cognitive development.

    I firmly believe that my own grasp of trigonometry was negatively affected by the availability of affordable graphing calculators in the mid-90s. Sadly, I was too young to understand the negative impact at that time.

  32. @Mike1
    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I'm tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD's from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don't understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can't do math like 20 + 30 in his head.

    I know a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering who has to phone me up to change her light bulbs

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
    Does she change your oil in barter?
    , @dux.ie
    Otherwise in strong labour union countries that might cause an industrial dispute.
  33. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    This.

    In PG county, it's not just regression to the mean. The majority (the vast majority?) of these households are earning far more than the residents' IQs merit. Many of PG blacks hold stupid degrees from terrible colleges, but their degrees qualify them for fairly high-paying federal (sometimes DC or PG) government jobs. Their IQs are at best ~100. Smart for blacks but not deserving of a $100k a year job.

    Their kids fall back to low to mid 90s IQ, which makes even the easiest college major at some terrible black college difficult. Throw in a lack of conscientiousness and college just doesn't happen.

    The kids don't qualify for sweet, make-work jobs and thus end up making what someone with a 92 IQ and bad work ethic would make. It's a double drop for these kids: 1) regression to the mean and 2) not getting extra, unearned income that their parents received by working for the federal government.

    This is also why so many parts of PG county are so nasty despite having supposedly well-educated blacks living there.

    I think there is one public high school in PG county that scores above the nationwide mean in the SATs. Elenor Roosevelt which is the selection high school in the county.

    In fairness though even before PG became majority black it was underwhelming academically and considered the backward county of the region.

  34. Got a theory. What if regression to the mean is caused not by random genetic factors but instead due to insufficiently assortative mating? For example we know that women tend to mate very assortatively but men seem to be more willing to mate less assortatively, could this lead to regression to the mean? For example white collar women with IQs of 110 are less likely to marry a plumber with even a 5 point lower IQ. But 110 IQ white collar men might marry a non white collar woman with an IQ of 100. So this may lead to faster regression from the male side but slower regression from the female side. Basically, women are raising their genotype quality and men are diluting it! In the end it doesn’t really make a difference but it could explain regression t0 the mean. Anyway just my theory based on personal observation.

    • Replies: @RonaldB
    Logically, your observations do not explain regression to the mean, even if true. Regression to the mean is the concept that the IQ of the children is tipped towards the population average to a degree not explained by the parents. For example, you have two parents, both of IQ 110. Their children are expected to have an IQ of between 110 and 100. This is without assortative mating.

    Assuming equal numbers of males and females get married (duh). Assume all females marry up IQ-wise, and all males marry down. In the absence of another explanation for regression to the mean, this alone would be no reason to assume any clustered difference in the children's IQ. You have equal numbers marrying up, and equal numbers marrying down.
    , @Bryan
    @jake n

    Yeah, but you don't observe genetic IQ, you observe something that correlates with actual IQ.

    So, if the outcome we see - guy with smart job who seems smart - is the result of something like genetic IQ + random IQ effect + luck in the job market, then sorting on the thing that matters (genetic component of IQ) is going to be tough.

    And anyway, nobody has evolved to think that way. We select for what has always worked, which is not only smart.
  35. @Mike1
    There is such a small number of people that can think statistically I'm tempted to think it is a genetic trait. I know people with masters and PHD's from the absolute top level of US colleges who have been statistically trained, work in fields where they are required to produce statistical results and don't understand incredibly basic statistical concepts. This includes people with real world jobs.
    I know an economics PHD from Stanford that really can't do math like 20 + 30 in his head.

    Ever watch a “knowledgeable” person when you tell them 1% of the population equals millions of people? Or my favorite sarcastic observation that the “middle class” people “hurting” from last year’s tax reform are starving to death on more than twice the median national income.

  36. @AndrewR
    Few people seem to be able to think statistically. Then again few people are even basically numerate.

    Yes but that’s not what this advocacy research is about. They’re not interested in the actual causal factors of all of this. It’s about pointing and sputtering, then using pre-existing dogmatics about inequality (spoilers: it’s whitey’s fault even though they can’t prove the claim) in order to claim that the inequalities still exist and are *gasp* worse than ever, so we need to clip every white male’s balls and double down on anti-white policies. Heads I win, tails you lose.

  37. @Intelligent Dasein
    Hydraulic fracturing was invented in the 1940s, Steve.

    The first experimental oil well frac occurred in 1947, and the first commercial application took place shortly thereafter, in 1950. Analogues of the technique go back immeasurably far into the past. The Romans were diverting rivers in order to frac mine shafts 2,000 years ago.

    You may well have set the world record for the plunge for distance from Steve’s point.

    Well sperged!

  38. The effect of geography on children’s outcomes is fairly significant.

    Magic geography! Magic dirt!

    • Replies: @Bryan
    One amusing additional factor is that, in industries like banking, explicitly using magic dirt markers like zip codes is well-known to be simply a proxy for race & is therefore extremely problematic.

    I would like to see some brave banker drop census tract in his models as a regressor and defend the decision based on Chetty's magic dirt ideas.
  39. @jake n
    Got a theory. What if regression to the mean is caused not by random genetic factors but instead due to insufficiently assortative mating? For example we know that women tend to mate very assortatively but men seem to be more willing to mate less assortatively, could this lead to regression to the mean? For example white collar women with IQs of 110 are less likely to marry a plumber with even a 5 point lower IQ. But 110 IQ white collar men might marry a non white collar woman with an IQ of 100. So this may lead to faster regression from the male side but slower regression from the female side. Basically, women are raising their genotype quality and men are diluting it! In the end it doesn't really make a difference but it could explain regression t0 the mean. Anyway just my theory based on personal observation.

    Logically, your observations do not explain regression to the mean, even if true. Regression to the mean is the concept that the IQ of the children is tipped towards the population average to a degree not explained by the parents. For example, you have two parents, both of IQ 110. Their children are expected to have an IQ of between 110 and 100. This is without assortative mating.

    Assuming equal numbers of males and females get married (duh). Assume all females marry up IQ-wise, and all males marry down. In the absence of another explanation for regression to the mean, this alone would be no reason to assume any clustered difference in the children’s IQ. You have equal numbers marrying up, and equal numbers marrying down.

  40. @jake n
    Got a theory. What if regression to the mean is caused not by random genetic factors but instead due to insufficiently assortative mating? For example we know that women tend to mate very assortatively but men seem to be more willing to mate less assortatively, could this lead to regression to the mean? For example white collar women with IQs of 110 are less likely to marry a plumber with even a 5 point lower IQ. But 110 IQ white collar men might marry a non white collar woman with an IQ of 100. So this may lead to faster regression from the male side but slower regression from the female side. Basically, women are raising their genotype quality and men are diluting it! In the end it doesn't really make a difference but it could explain regression t0 the mean. Anyway just my theory based on personal observation.

    Yeah, but you don’t observe genetic IQ, you observe something that correlates with actual IQ.

    So, if the outcome we see – guy with smart job who seems smart – is the result of something like genetic IQ + random IQ effect + luck in the job market, then sorting on the thing that matters (genetic component of IQ) is going to be tough.

    And anyway, nobody has evolved to think that way. We select for what has always worked, which is not only smart.

  41. @Moses

    The effect of geography on children’s outcomes is fairly significant.
     
    Magic geography! Magic dirt!

    One amusing additional factor is that, in industries like banking, explicitly using magic dirt markers like zip codes is well-known to be simply a proxy for race & is therefore extremely problematic.

    I would like to see some brave banker drop census tract in his models as a regressor and defend the decision based on Chetty’s magic dirt ideas.

  42. @jim jones
    I know a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering who has to phone me up to change her light bulbs

    Does she change your oil in barter?

  43. @jim jones
    I know a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering who has to phone me up to change her light bulbs

    Otherwise in strong labour union countries that might cause an industrial dispute.

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