education

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. Highly rated doctors may not be that good. HT: Scott Alexander
  2. A Nobel prize for the inventor of vaping?
  3. Vaccinated people can still spread whooping cough.
  4. More complex products require elaborate networks of teamwork, and only a few places manage the trick.
  5. Intelligence and criminal behaviour by Joseph Schwartz and friends. No surprises here.
  6. Self control and political ideology. HT: Tyler Cowen
  7. Why the US can’t copy Sweden.
  8. Not enough studies involve blinding.

And if you missed them, my posts from the last week:

  1. The Evolutionary Foundations of Economics.
  2. Please experiment on us.
  3. The more we can send the message we have no idea, the better.

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. Nobody is doing more to save the NHS than the “drinkers, smokers or fatties”.
  2. Some bashing of the benefits of education: Did schooling drive the industrial revolution? Against tulip (education) subsidies.
  3. Is war on the wane?
  4. The Dead Sea lives.

And if you missed them, my posts from the last week:

  1. Why family friendly policies backfire.
  2. The winner effect in humans.

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. Two perspectives on the chocolate study – Scott Alexander and Andrew Gelman. I would say that the chocolate study didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know.
  2. Self-deluded leaders.
  3. The education myth.
  4. If only chimpanzees had ovens. HT: Tyler Cowen

And if you missed them, my posts from the last week:

  1. Ration information. Avoid news.
  2. Measurement error on 23andme.
  3. Merton on retirement incomes.

A week of links

Links this week (or more like two weeks):

  1. Another favourite behavioural science story bites the dust.
  2. Three schools of thought on decision making.
  3. Better teachers receive worse evaluations.
  4. An attempt to reduce bias backfires.
  5. Biased scientists.
  6. Hayek and business management.
  7. More highly educated women are having children.

Life continues to be busy, so posting will continue to be sparse for at least another couple of weeks.

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. On the misplaced politics of behavioral policy interventions. And hawkish biases.
  2. Noah Smith v Bryan Caplan on education signalling – 1, 2 and 3. I believe signalling is an important part of the education story, but Smith’s argument about costly signalling is on point.
  3. Robert Trivers on his friends and enemies. HT: Razib

And if you missed it, my one post this last week:

  1. Bad nudges toward organ donation.

Life continues to be busy, so posting will continue to be sparse.

The gender reading gap and love of learning

Two interesting education snippets.

First, Brookings has released a new report that looks at the gender gap in reading:

Girls outscore boys on practically every reading test given to a large population. And they have for a long time. A 1942 Iowa study found girls performing better than boys on tests of reading comprehension, vocabulary, and basic language skills. Girls have outscored boys on every reading test ever given by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—the first long term trend test was administered in 1971—at ages nine, 13, and 17. The gap is not confined to the U.S. Reading tests administered as part of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) reveal that the gender gap is a worldwide phenomenon. In more than sixty countries participating in the two assessments, girls are better readers than boys.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that Finland, celebrated for its extraordinary performance on PISA for over a decade, can take pride in its high standing on the PISA reading test solely because of the performance of that nation’s young women. With its 62 point gap, Finland has the largest gender gap of any PISA participant, with girls scoring 556 and boys scoring 494 points (the OECD average is 496, with a standard deviation of 94). If Finland were only a nation of young men, its PISA ranking would be mediocre.

And where does love of learning come from? From a new twin study:

Little is known about why people differ in their levels of academic motivation. This study explored the etiology of individual differences in enjoyment and self-perceived ability for several school subjects in nearly 13,000 twins aged 9–16 from 6 countries. The results showed a striking consistency across ages, school subjects, and cultures. Contrary to common belief, enjoyment of learning and children’s perceptions of their competence were no less heritable than cognitive ability. Genetic factors explained approximately 40% of the variance and all of the observed twins’ similarity in academic motivation. Shared environmental factors, such as home or classroom, did not contribute to the twin’s similarity in academic motivation. Environmental influences stemmed entirely from individual specific experiences.

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. A review of Baumeister and Tierney’s Willpower by Scott Alexander (I don’t buy the comparison between exercise, money and willpower – this comment sums up my view).
  2. When we act as though all opinions are equal.
  3. Some evidence on whether we should be inducing the best and brightest into teaching. (HT: Arnold Kling)
  4. Our tolerance of inequality is reference dependent.
  5. Death penalty eugenics.

And if you missed them, my posts this week:

  1. Boys are falling behind girls in school.
  2. Research on the heritability of savings behaviour.

A week of links

Links this week:

  1. I have an article at ABC’s The Drum on the Australian Government’s Intergenerational Report – “It’s time to end the demographic pessimism“.
  2. “The myriad processes that bring in food, convert it to metabolic fuel, and burn this fuel in our cells act in concert to keep our energy budget – the daily paper – essentially fixed in size.” HT: Melissa McEwen
  3. An education intervention that might have worked.
  4. Why are some demographic groups doing better than others?
  5.  What makes the current era feel so deprived?
  6. A surprisingly good article on the whether science supports a paleo diet.
  7. The global flight from the familyAnd miserable 19th century marriages.
  8. A short history of  iterated prisoner’s dilemma tournaments.
  9. So much for peak oil.

And if you missed them, my posts this week:

  1. Introducing Evonomics.
  2. Can government policy overcome implicit bias?

A week of links

Links this week (a slightly sparse list as I didn’t find much time to see what was out there):

  1. The number of never married in the US continues to grow. HT: Arnold Kling
  2. Moderate drinking is still good for you. Christopher Snowdon delves into the details.
  3. It’s no surprise that Uber and friends want to be regulated.
  4. There is plenty of signalling in years K-12.

And if you missed them, my posts this week:

  1. What makes a nation great? The population.
  2. If you want to be a global superpower, there is an easier way to get there than fiddling with your education settings.

“Good to Great” for nations

I am not convinced that Jim Collins’s management classic Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t has stood the test of time, despite the “384 million bytes of computer data” accumulated during the process of putting it together. That the first of the good to great companies named in the book is Fannie Mae, which became “the best capital markets player in the world at managing mortgage interest risk”, does not help the case.

However, my purpose in this post is not to criticise the book or the management strategy genre in general, as there is no shortage of other places where that has already been done well.

What I want to do is admit some sympathy for the good to great ingredients that Collins identifies, particularly the idea of “First Who….Then What”. And then I want to ask – is there a something in that concept for the wealth of nations?

The idea of “First Who….Then What” is that, to change your company from good to great, you need to get the right people on the bus. It is only when the right people are on board that you should decide where you want to drive it. And the key to that sentence is “right people”. It is not “your people” who are the most important part of the company – the “right people” are.

This approach means that strategy comes after hiring. In a company full of the right people, good answers will tend to emerge. Questions such as compensation are not as important as you’re not trying to motivate the right behaviours from the wrong people.

You could draw a similar argument with what might make a nation great. Those nations with high-IQ, educated populations tend to have higher levels of economic development. Although rich countries tend to have good political institutions and policies that are not completely crazy,  the direction of causation is population to institutions. If you have the “right” people in a nation, decent political frameworks tend to follow.

Of course, North Korea is the exception that proves the rule. But North Korea could become a classic case study in a few decades. Imagine if the dictatorship fell and North Korea came under a government similar to that in South Korea. How long would take for North Korea’s development to reflect that of its southern neighbour?