Arnold Kling  

Discrimination or Ability?

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Anne Case, Christina Paxson, and Mahnaz Islam say that the wage premium reflects cognitive ability.


[____] is significantly associated with greater educational attainment, and selection into higher skill occupations – both of which confer higher earnings capacity.

They argue that their results show that people who are not [____] suffer from reduced cognitive ability rather than from discrimination. Nonetheless, I still believe that I am a victim. I want more than just Greg Mankiw's tax in redress. I demand reparations!


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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution



COMMENTS (5 to date)
8 writes:

It doesn't matter what the reason is, if your group is underrepresented, you deserve money.

In this case, I think a good target is athletes. They have a lot of money and very, very few are ______. The NBA would be the best place to start. I can't type anymore right now because the rage from reading that bigoted paper is making my hands shake.

RDM writes:

Why is this the only possible answer?

"explained largely by the association between height and cognitive function: healthier, better nourished children are significantly more likely to reach both their height potential and their cognitive potential."

Consider that today's workplace puts a premium on communication skills. If taller men did better socially growing up (and there really is evidence that taller men are more desirous) and are more developed in the communication abilities, could that possibly account for it?
Personally, I am only 5'6 and I'm perfectly healthy. My parents just happen to be short. Both have graduate degrees from Ivy League universities, so you would be hard pressed to say their cognitive abilities suffered because of their height.

David Friedman writes:

I believe Judith Harris, in one of her books, discusses the question, and claims that the correlation (for males) is with height during adolescence. Her conjecture is that the association is via self-confidence.

Snark writes:

I used to believe compensating differences occurred naturally. For example, those born with superior physical attributes, it seemed, generally lacked the same intellectual capacity of those born without. That belief has been shattered, a belief that the vertically challenged can no longer take refuge in. Further proof that life is unfair is provided in this study, which claims that curvaceous women are brighter and give birth to brainier kids (a sort of “Belle” Curve, if you will). Signaling of this type is made possible, however, by means of plastic surgery.

Sadly, medical science has yet to find a cure for the first type of shortcoming. I’m afraid Randy Newman was right, short people got no reason to live…

liberty writes:

I've always found short people to be smarter (anecdotal).

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