Arnold Kling  

Personality and Ability

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Nobel Laureate James J. Heckman, et al write,


Most economists are unaware of the evidence that certain personality traits are more malleable than cognitive ability over the life cycle and are more sensitive to investment by parents and to other sources of environmental influences at later ages than are cognitive traits. Social policy designed to remediate deficits in achievement can be effective by operating outside of purely cognitive channels.

This paper provides a lot to chew on. I recommend it highly. Thanks to Tyler Cowen for the pointer.


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CATEGORIES: IQ in Economics



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The author at Vivre La Différence in a related article titled Personality Tests and IQ writes:
    Via Arnold, this paper. Most economists are unaware of the evidence that certain personality traits are more malleable than cognitive ability over the life cycle and are more sensitive to investment by parents and to other sources of environmental inf... [Tracked on February 19, 2008 1:31 PM]
COMMENTS (4 to date)
Buzzcut writes:

Social policy designed to remediate deficits in achievement can be effective by operating outside of purely cognitive channels.

Can we get real? The history of liberalism throughout the 20th Century was one of program after program that failed to "remediate deficits in achievement". Start with the progressives, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, the swinging '70s, the Clintons, and now... the Clintons (and Obama).

And what do we have to show for it? If anything, one can argue that welfare caused the very "personality traits" that have caused the development of a permanent underclass in this country.

No more top down "social policy". Whatever the focus, be it cognitive or personality, the history of social policy in this country is that of failure, time after time.

Dan Weber writes:

For those of us who aren't trying to implement social policy, and are just trying to raise our kids well, what aspects can we change?

Dain writes:

Dan,

Arrange for their environment, particularly their peer groups, to be a positive influence.

krista pappas writes:

Milton Freedman wouldn’t agree that the government should be involved in the economy. He believed that there were already too many programs that made the economy dependant on the government but we should start taking them away slowly. I believe that we can learn a lot from this economist with that if we want to find a way for social policy designed to remidiate deficits would be for the government to stay out of our economy and stop trying to interfere with the economic cycle. We go through recessions but we always pull ourselves out of it. When the government tries to apply policies to help our deficits all it does is make things worse. Such as if Hilary Clinton wins the presidential spot, she has many programs that she wants to make permanent such as Health care being mandatory for everyone to have in the United States. Has she looked at Canada? It takes months for people in Canada to go to the doctor and be helped. It is expensive and makes things impossible to be efficient. America's health care has a good system even though our costs are high theres a price you pay to have the best health care available. And the government again shouldn't force people in the economy to make certain decisions based upon what they feel is most beneficial. For example when the government puts price ceilings and floors on certain items or goods that we purchase it can create a surplus or shortage. And the government enforcing those programs ends up just hurting the economy, and making things harder to recover from. I admit we do need to think of the box when we think about social policy but we need to make sure we keep the government out of it as much as possible.

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