29 December 2015

Stephen Hsu on Mismatch and IQ

Stephen Hsu calls attention at his Information Processing blog to a recent op-ed supporting the mismatch hypothesis that is important in analyzing the latest U.S. Supreme Court higher educational affirmative action case and a recent article on STEM majors/professions and IQ.  He is a true believer in the value of IQ and the tests used to measure them as a tool in daily bureaucratic life and in personal and national success.

Basically, he think that we should focus on educating the gifted as this produces the most returns, is sympathetic toward eugenic concepts, and thinks that meritocracy based upon tests that accurately measure IQ should give way to only a few other considerations like "W" (work ethic basically), and social skills.  He favors genetic research into the source of hereditary IQ.

I tend to agree that the claim in the papers that the mismatch hypothesis is not supported by any credible evidence are wrong, but also doubt that affirmative action beneficiaries are on balance actually worse off for choosing more competitive schools overall.  Degree prestige confers a lot of value separate and apart from raw academic sorting and the education one receives once admitted may not even be all that important relative to degree prestige for the individual.  Elite universities are where we train our ruling class and that is as much a social and sociological venture as an academic one.

Also, too few attempts to analyze affirmative action really delve into the asymmetry of the big prestige boost for the beneficiaries vis-a-vis the modest prestige depression for those displaced from top schools by it, although the depression is quite serious for Asian-Americans who bear a lot of the downside of affirmative action (more so than whites generally and on a par with or in excess of the hit taken even by upper working class to middle middle class whites).

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