Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The tall, the smart, and bad labour market outcomes

You ought to read Stephen Hall's NYTimes piece presenting a nuanced analysis of the correlation between a person's height and his/her cognitive abilities. Here's a highly quotable sentence:

While understandable, the economist’s focus on income as the key determinant of success reflects a narrow bandwidth of human value; in economic studies of this sort, penniless artists like Vincent Van Gogh or impoverished leaders like Mahatma Gandhi would be examples of bad labor market outcomes.


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    I am not sure about this. I am 6ft and 4 inches tall and it took me three attempts to understand the basics of Calculus. I even remember banging my head against the wall. It was useful in baketball though ( at least in India).

  2. Anonymous said...

    Apologies for the tone in advance...

    How "representative" of the population are Van Gogh and Gandhi? In fact, even if one restricts attention to artists and politicians, these two might still be outliers in the respective samples. This quote would have a point if it was showing that there are important characteristics representative of the general population that economists were not picking up.

    But I understand...Economists clearly are outliers, being such morons that they don't recognise simple things like high income is not necessarily an indicator of "success"...More enlightenment awaited.