Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lower intelligence means greater support for government intervention into private industry

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill was on the front page of the KC Star yesterday after her heated remarks proposing limits on compensation for investment banking executives:

Sen. Claire McCaskill — steaming mad and not going to take it anymore — on Friday called Wall Street executives “idiots” and proposed limits on some of their salaries.

Her proposal would force companies taking federal bailout money to limit compensation for any employee to what the president of the United States currently earns: $400,000 a year.
My initial reaction was to wonder why Congress critters continue to receive six-figure salaries and generous benefits when the federal budget has been in the red for all but four years since 1970 and the national debt has quadrupled (in real terms) over the same period of time.

My intention here, though, is not to discuss the potential merits of quasi-nationalizing various industries. It is to point out that if (or as) demographic trends depress national average IQ going forward, expect to hear similar calls from elected US officials more frequently in the future.

Latin America provides a few examples of this. In Mexico, the right-leaning PAN party supports industry privatization in opposition to the PRD, which favors more nationalization along the lines of leftist governments in other Latin American countries like Venezuela and Bolivia. As Andrew Gelman demonstrates, in these countries supporters of leftist parties are on average less affluent than supporters of rightist parties are. Thus it is no great leap to conclude that the electorate supporting government control of private business tends to be less intelligent than the electorate opposing such nationalization, at least to our south.

What about in the US? The GSS suggests the same applies stateside. The average IQ, arrived at by converting the mean Wordsum score of whites to an IQ of 100 with a standard deviation of 15, for those who responded in the following ways to the question of what the government's role should be in banking and insurance:

N = 683 IQ
Gov't should own91.2
Gov't should set prices100.2
Gov't should stay out100.8

For Leviathan's role in the steel industry:

N = 685IQ
Gov't should own91.8
Gov't should set prices98.6
Gov't should stay out101.2

Inexplicably, for 1985, the year in which an auto variation of the regulation question was asked, Wordsum scores were not obtained. So average years of education are used instead as a proxy for the government's role in the auto industry:

N = 606Educ
Gov't should own9.71
Gov't should set prices11.67
Gov't should stay out13.44

In each of the three response pools, the percentage of people saying the government should control the respective industry is small, on the order of 3% to 5%. When it comes to financial services, the intelligence gap is minor. For manufacturing industries, it is more distinct. But the trend is consistent--duller people are more likely to favor government intervention into private industry than more intelligent people are.

Libertarians who support open borders need to come to grips with the fact that they are stoking the fires of government intervention into the economy.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM, EDUC, OWNBANKS, OWNSTEEL, OWNAUTOS

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Federal corruption convictions per 100,000 residents over 18

Based on Department of Justice statistics of federal corruption convictions from 1998-2007, USA Today created a map to visually represent per capita rates of corruption by state. Other than a stained western Appalachian belt, no apparent patterns emerge, which tends to induce some skepticism into the value of the method of measurement.

Before discussing that, it's worth noting that children are not the targets of federal corruption investigations, yet having a relatively large number of them pads younger states in USA Today's analysis by spreading out the number of convictions over a larger population base. Older states do not fare particularly well. Thus, a ranking of the states by corruption convictions per 100,000 people aged 18 and older:

StateCons
1. North Dakota10.70
2. Alaska10.19
3. Louisiana10.09
4. Mississippi9.76
5. Montana7.93
6. Kentucky7.44
7. Alabama7.13
8. South Dakota6.79
9. Delaware6.61
10. New Jersey6.33
11. Ohio6.27
12. Florida5.78
13. Pennsylvania5.75
14. Illinois5.19
15. West Virginia5.19
16. Tennessee5.16
17. Hawaii5.15
18. Virginia5.10
19. New York4.72
20. Connecticut4.13
21. Oklahoma3.92
22. Massachusetts3.73
23. Arkansas3.72
24. Missouri3.53
25. Maryland3.47
26. Wyoming3.44
27. Idaho3.41
28. Texas3.21
29. Rhode Island3.18
30. Arizona2.93
31. Michigan2.85
32. Wisconsin2.84
33. Vermont2.66
34. Indiana2.57
35. North Carolina2.56
36. Maine2.41
37. Nevada2.37
38. Georgia2.28
39. South Carolina2.15
40. Colorado2.07
41. New Mexico2.04
42. California2.01
43. Utah2.01
44. Washington1.99
45. Kansas1.81
46. Minnesota1.67
47. Iowa1.52
48. New Hampshire1.37
49. Oregon1.24
50. Nebraska0.90

See a visual representation of the data here. A spreadsheet of the data are here.

This corruption index shows no meaningful relationship with the usual suspects. Corruption does not reach statistical significance (p<.05) in correlating with estimated average IQ, the percentage of a state's population that is white, Presidential voting patterns in '04, economic inequality as measured by the gini coefficient, the violent crime rate, or median income. There are moderate relationships between the percentage of a state's population that is black (.30, p=.03) and the percentage of a state's population that is Hispanic (.33, p=.02), but these are not nearly as vigorous as the relationship between race and other kinds of crimes are.

Weather aside, if existence in bustling urban centers isn't a necessity, Montana and the Dakotas are generally regarded as decent places to live if, yet they are among the worst performers on the list. Germans and Scandanavians are usually not among the ancestries that first come to mind when thinking about governmental corruption. Are Minnesota and North Dakota really that different from one another? How about Montana and Wyoming?

The USA Today article quotes a North Dakotan suggesting this method of measurement might just as well indicate the level of vigilance against corruption as it does the prevalence of corruption itself:

Don Morrison, executive director of the non-partisan North Dakota Center for the Public Good, said it may be that North Dakotans are better at rooting out corruption when it occurs.

"Being a sparsely populated state, people know each other," he said. "We know our elected officials and so certainly to do what the governor of Illinois did is much more difficult here."
Population density doesn't correlate with corruption, either. But the first part of Morrison's comments may have merit. Last year, I created a criminal strictness index by state, computed by comparing the levels of violent and property crime to the incarceration rate. The simple idea being that if two states experience the same crime rates, but state A has a higher percentage of people behind bars than state B does, state A is a stricter state than state B is.

While these are federal convictions, they are tipped off and aided by state and local authorities, and political pressures by state and local officials presumably play some role as well. The strictness index correlates more strongly with corruption (.37, p=.01) than any other variable I looked at.

The Inductivist recently turned to the GSS to take a look at corruption by US geographic region. Amalgamating populations and convictions by state into the nine Census bureau designated areas and comparing them to the average corruption scores Inductivist found does not yield a statistically significant relationship (p=.16). I suspect that federal corruption convictions per capita present too much of a mixed bag to use as a proxy for the level of actual corruption in a state.

Thanks to Randall Parker for the initial heads-up on federal corruption conviction numbers.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gender parity, female educational attainment, and fecundity in the US

Previously, the relationship between gender parity and fecundity at the national level was considered. It is possible for patterns revealed at a macro level to fail to hold up at localized levels. Black electoral tendencies provide an example of this. The blacker a state is, the more likely that state is to support Republican Presidential candidates. But in the last election, blacks were more than 20 times as likely to vote for Obama as they were to vote for McCain.

There is no apparent evidence for a countervailing trend in the relationship between gender parity and fecundity in the US relative to what is observed at the national level. To arrive at this conclusion, I turned to three items in the GSS. Each question asked of the respondents is presented, followed by a small table with the average (mean) number of children women who responded in each of the various ways have given birth to and the number of respondents for each response category (N).

In each case, the range is restricted to women 35 years and older to ensure those who have yet to complete their reproductive lives do not pollute the data. Because response rates differ based on the year(s) in which the question was asked, the percentage of respondents who choose not to answer various questions, etc, the total average number of children by question category is not the same. But we are interested in relative differences among cohorts who responded to the same questions.

- It is not good if the man stays at home and cares for the children and the woman goes out to work:

ResponseAvg kidsN
Yes to Mr. Mom2.33305
Indifferent2.51106
No to Mr. Mom2.69140

- Do you think of yourself as a feminist or not?

ResponseAvg kidsN
Feminist2.16141
Not a femi2.39359

- Do you feel in any way discriminated against on your job because of your gender?

ResponseAvg kidsN
Yes1.81127
No2.061068

- Are women hurt by the traditional family structure?

ResponseAvg kidsN
Yes2.21141
No

2.55

214

Additionally, I argued that imbibing of educational romanticism results in young women in the 100-115 IQ range spending half a decade and tens of thousands of dollars sealed away from the real world during the period of their lives when they're most nubile in return for a degree that adds little real productive value to society. Consequently, those in this cognitive range who survive college end up procreating less than they otherwise would had they have foregone tertiary education.

The GSS backs up this assertion. Further restricting the sample to include only those who scored a 6, 7, or 8 on the Wordsum vocabulary test (approximating the 100-115 IQ range), the average number of children per woman for each level of educational attainment:

Edcuation levelAvg kidsN
Less than HS3.14618
HS only2.641583
Some college, no BA2.441100
Bachelor's only1.92585
Graduate education1.63201

Agnostic says the presumption that educational attainment is a causal factor in lower fertility is wrong, as the major downshift in Western fertility is traceable to the 18th Century. Educational attainment may not be causal in itself (although according to its Wikipedia article, the demographic transition is explained in part by "an increase in the status and education of women") but in the present it proxies well for whatever that true cause or causes is or are.

GSS variables used: FEMINIST, MRMOM, WKSEXISM, WOMENHRT, CHILDS, AGE(35-100), SEX(2), WORDSUM(6-8)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Educational gender parity and the paralyzation of the womb

Considering the inverse relationship between intelligence and fertility, Dennis Mangan excerpts from the abstract of a presentation on the subject:

Path models with length of marriage up to age 39, educational attainment, log-transformed family income, religious attendance and gender attitudes as intermediate variables show that the IQ effect is mainly indirect. IQ leads to higher education and income. High education reduces fertility in the female samples. Also high income reduces fertility independently except for black males. Another finding is a robust positive effect of IQ on liberal gender role attitudes in all demographic categories, which in turn reduce the number of children significantly for white females.
The connection between the liberalization of gender roles and fertility is of great interest. The assumption that gender parity in all things is inconducive to sustainable propagation arrives at the footstep of the ideas in Steve Sailer's article "The Return of Patriarchy?". Nearly seven years ago, Sailer wrote:

As physicist turned evolutionary theorist Gregory M. Cochran keeps pointing out, there's no particular reason to assume that post-modern cultures will ever get back to replacement-level reproduction. That doesn't mean the human race will go extinct. As Jim Chapin of UPI has pointed out, post-modern cultures might well be eventually pushed aside by whichever groups of religious fundamentalists - Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Wahhabi Islamists - best succeed in motivating their followers to have lots of children.
I'll be rooting for the first of those groups. But I would be plenty contented by knowledge that the whiterpeople who created the World Economic Forum's 2007 report on the Global Gender Gap (GGG) were motivating the women who putatively have it all to actually have it all, children included. Unfortunately, the women most deprived of what these whiterpeople consider fundamental hu(wo)man rights are the women who are reproducing most vigorously.

The WEF assigned a GGG ranking for 128 countries across the globe (pg 15), based on a host of gender-related measures, with a score of 1 representing perfect equality and a score of 0 representing perfect inequality. The correlation between a country's GGG score and its total fertility rate for women is an inverse .53 (p=0).

I bolded the sentence on the prohibitive effect of education on fertility from Mangan's excerpt for a reason. The WEF breaks its total index into four subindexes; economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political empowerment, and health and survival. Subindex scores for each country are also made available.

Looking at each subindex independently reveals that the relationship between the GGG and fecundity is driven primarily by the gender gap in educational attainment. The inverse correlations of each with the total fertility rate, by country:

Economic participation and opportunity: .22 (p=.01)
Educational attainment: .75 (p=.00)
Political empowerment: .22 (p=.01)
Health and survival: .01 (p=.89)

The acceptance of women in the workplace or the idea that women should be paid comparably for comparable work tracks weakly with fecundity. The relative number of women in elected offices is similarly only weakly related. Discrepancies in life expectancy or the gender ratio do not matter at all.

The strong bond with fecundity exists in education*. One-fifth of the educational attainment score comes from the gender literacy gap, the other four-fifths comes from the enrollment gap (in primary, secondary, and tertiary schools). The more time women spend in classrooms relative to the time their men spend there, the less likely they are to make babies. Buchanan has called oral contraceptives the suicide pills of the West. Well then, educational romanticism is its Depo-Provera.

We need accelerated educational paths (video recorded lectures, grade-level and course-level pre-testing, the removal of all electives from mandatory completion requirements, etc) so that a bright woman headed for graduate work does not have to be in her mid-twenties at the earliest before she finally starts working. At that point, even if it is in her future, she is unlikely to have yet attained financial security and must still put in long hours to establish herself in her field. It will not be until sometime in her mid-thirties that she'll be interested in starting a family, a point at which it will be difficult for her to do so for a number of reasons: She'll be well past her peak years of physical attractiveness, the chances of running into complications during pregnancy and the chances of having children with defects are increased, and the number of conceptions she'll be able to have are limited by the specter of menopause just over the horizon (meaning the question of family size--not including pets--will be winnowed down to whether it should remain at two or be expanded to three).

Also, fewer people in the US should go to college. Charles Murray makes the case in Real Education that only 10%-20% of the population enjoys the level of intelligence necessary to cope with genuine college-level material (and not all of these people will benefit or enjoy that material just because they are able to make sense of it). The other 30%-40% of each high school graduating class that heads off to a four year university is doing so not because the degree aspired for represents real productive value added to its holder, but because said degree has artificial societal value placed on it. The students are being rational in presuming that all else equal, a BA is going to increase their earning power. But at the societal level, it is irrational--or at least inefficient--to place so much value on a piece of paper that proxies for what a 30-minute IQ test and a few days on the job just as well reveals.

Because the college years are also a woman's most nubile ones, those who are smart enough to survive the contemporary college curriculum but who are unlikely to receive much real value in doing so (roughly the 100-115 IQ range) are the people who hurt society the most by squandering four or five years and, with opportunity costs considered, tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in an utterly unrealistic setting that critically postpones their entry into the real world.

Data are here.

* The correlation might have been even stronger if the top 'equality' value did not max out at 1 for 15 countries. Since the index scores are based on female characteristics relative to male characteristics, it is not that these 15 countries experience perfect gender equality--it's that in all of them, women are outperforming men. A naif might presume that gender inequality, irrespective of which gender had the edge, would cause the WEF team alarm. That presumption, however, would be wrong. Just as whites cannot conceivably be the victims of racism, men cannot conceivably be the victims of sexism.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Credit scores and IQ

GNXP's Razib alerted me to CreditReport.com's listing of average credit scores by state*. Not surprisingly, the scores correlate strongly with a couple of the usual suspects. With the percentage of a state's population that is non-Asian minority (NAM), the correlation is an inverse .74 (p=0). With IQ, the correlation is an even stronger .77 (p=0).

Because these relationships are somberly unsurprising, they're not likely to be given any attention by Important People, anywhere, ever. (That is, unless to point out societal racism, evinced from racial disparities on the blank slatist assumption that differences in groups are entirely contingent upon external social forces, or to argue for more educational spending to combat American profligacy**).

Living around people who are not up to their eyeballs in debt makes for a better quality of life. Economic downturns are less disruptive, business is easier to conduct, neighbors are more likely to take care of homes they have equity in and cars they're not half-expecting to be repossessed, etc. A state's average credit rating could easily be included among the 44 social, cultural, and economic factors CQ Press uses to calculate its livability index. That index correlates with a state's estimated average IQ at a nearly identical .80 (p=0).

A visualization illustrates that unlike the red-blue political divide conceptualized as pitting the coasts against the nation's interior, when it comes to desirable places to live (weather excluded), a north-south divide emerges.

Steve Sailer excerpts from George Will's obituary for the late Senator Moynihan:

The Senate's Sisyphus, Moynihan was forever pushing uphill a boulder of inconvenient data. A social scientist trained to distinguish correlation from causation, and a wit, Moynihan puckishly said that a crucial determinant of the quality of American schools is proximity to the Canadian border."
Richard Lynn has suggested that a north-south IQ continuum has evolved through selection for greater intelligence in less hospitable environments. It seems at least plausible that colder environments also selected for greater resistance to and tolerance of cold in the process. Which, in addition to historical settlement patterns, might offer some explanation as to why the north-south contiuum continues to exist (not just in the US, but internationally as well^).

Speculatively, moving people closer to the Canadian border isn't going to magically make people more more intelligent or better neighbors, but warming in colder areas of the world might have a eugenic effect by opening up land and resources for populations living in them. Since cold weather isn't as threatening to humans as it used to be (especially in developed societies, which tend to be found in relatively colder places than less developed societies are), even over the long-term, assuming a secular warming trend continued, the effect presumably would not swing back in the dysgenic direction.

* It isn't clear how the averages are computed. They might be representing either the mean or the median by users from each state, or an average of all credit reports based on state of residence. As long as the method is standardized, though, it's useful, unless there are reasons to suspect the method is artificially skewing states to different extents, of which I am currently unaware.

** Educational attainment, as measured by my 'education index plus', does not correlate as strongly with credit scores as McDaniel's estimated average IQ scores by state does. More intelligent people appear to be better at managing their credit than less intelligent people appear to be. Educational attainment is probably predictive primarily because it serves as a proxy for intelligence.

^ Internationally, it's a distance-from-the-equator continuum, to be more precise.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Atheists are liberals as often as not, but most liberals are theists

Recently, the Inductivist dismissed the perception that atheists are usually leftists:
Perhaps I should give people more credit and assume that they believe that an atheist is very likely to be a liberal, but doing even a little bit of homework will get beyond the stereotype.
We would be so fortunate if only the stereotype was an inaccurate one! Inductivist may not be off the mark in describing atheists in the Steveosphere's orbit, like the scientifically-minded prodigies at GNXP. Among the general public, however, presuming most atheists to be leftists is not unreasonable, even if it's not quite precise.

The GSS shows that among atheists (N=252), 47.6% self-describe as being somewhere on the liberal end of the political spectrum. A further 29.0% are moderates, with the remaining 23.3% on the conservative side of things. So it is more sensible for one to assume, absent any other information, that there is basically a 50/50 chance that an atheist will also be a leftist.

Among the public, 26.8% self-describe as belonging on the liberal side, 38.7% say they are moderates, and 34.5% count themselves as conservatives of some stripe. Thus the odds of finding a leftist at random among atheists are nearly twice as great as they are of finding a leftist at random among the general population.










The graph on the left looks at atheists alone. The graph on the right represents the general population. Green-on-down represents those on the liberal side of the political spectrum, yellow those who consider themselves moderates, and orange-on-up those who are conservatives of some degree. (Click on either graph for greater resolution).

The stereotype of the liberal atheist becomes untenable when it is conversely assumed that because there is a good chance atheists are leftists, there is similarly a good chance that liberals are atheists. In the US, theism continues to be the dominant position across the political spectrum. Fewer than 3% of those on the liberal side of the political spectrum describe themselves as atheists. Eight percent are agnostic, while an overwhelming 89% are theistic.

As the graph below shows, the more liberal a person describes himself as, the less firm his theism becomes. But among the general population, atheism and agnosticism are rare even among those on the left. Magenta represents those who are certain God exists, red represents those who are certain God does not exist, and the colors in between represent varying degrees of confidence in the existence of God.
















GSS variables used: GOD, POLVIEWS

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Walkable cities aren't conservative but they are crowded

Fat Knowledge previously posted on a site gauging the "walk score" of several cities. The formula is actually pretty complex, but in short, the closer things you'd usually drive to are to one another, the higher the walkability.

My first thought was that this might be a chichi way of ranking cities based on population density. That's essentially the case (click on the graphic to view it more clearly). The correlation between a city's walkability and its population density is .85 (p=0). Cram everything together, including people and the places they go to, and walking becomes more feasible.

More interestingly, when looking at the city rankings for walkability, one might as easily be looking at a ranking of cities whiterpeople like the most. They're progressive like Seattle, trendy like New York City, or both, like the walkable capital of the country, San Francisco. But they're not conservative. The correlation between Bush's share of the vote in 2004* and walkability is an inverse .79 (p=0).

Densely populated places are expensive places. Expensive places with few open spaces are not conducive to raising families. When family formation is unaffordable, Democrats do well. This is another example of the validity of Steve Sailer's affordable family formation revelation that Republicans, just beginning to really smart from a disastrous eight year fall from grace, would be wise to make a tactical centerpiece of their electoral strategy going forward.

Data are here.

* Because election results are tracked by county, that's how I tracked voting patterns. In cities primarily in one county but with some extension into another county (or counties), like Fort Worth, only the primary county was used. When a substantial contingent of the population was spread across multiple counties, like NYC, each county was included in determining the total.

Using county data proxies well for city electoral preferences, as the city's population constitutes the majority of the county's population in most cases. Los Angeles county, encompassing the cities of both Los Angeles and Long Beach, is an exception. It has 10 million people to the 4 million actually living within LA. King county is another exception. In addition to Seattle, it houses affluent suburbs to the north and east of the city. Consequently, all three of these quite walkable cities are assumed in the analysis to have voted more heavily for Bush (36% for LA and Long Beach, 34% for Seattle) than they actually did. That the correlation remains as vigorous as it does despite these artificial confounding data points (and there are surely other more minor occurences of the same) suggests that the real relationship is even stronger than it appears to be above.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cognitive inequality is good for Democrats

Inspired by Steve Sailer's VDare article "Californication--Increasing Inequality--Surprisingly Good for Democrat Pols", one of the seminal posts here described how economic and educational parities are good for Republicans while economic and educational disparities are good for Democrats.

Bruce G. Charlton suggested cognitive parity might also be good for the GOP. From the limited correspondence I've had with him, I've found that when he suggests something, it's worth investigating.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) provides a way of doing so. The Department of Education's NCES site has recently been updated to allow for a wide range of statistical comparisons to be made among states and territories. In addition to providing average state level scores by subject, by year, and by race, the NAEP site can be queried for standard deviations on the same. The wider the standard deviation, the greater the cognitive disparity in the state.

Following is a table ranking the states by cognitive disparity as measured by state-level standard NAEP math and reading scores for 8th graders in '07, the latest year for which there are available data. Both tests are on a 500 point scale. The nationwide standard deviation was 35 points for reading and 36 points for math. The table reports an average standard deviation value from the '07 tests:

StatesVariability
California38.5
Connecticut, Nevada37
Hawaii, Rhode Island36.5
Alabama, Arizona36
DC, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Washington35.5
Alaska, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon,
Utah, Wisconsin
35
Arkansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, South Carolina34.5
Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, West
Virginia
34

Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts,
New Mexico, Tennessee

33.5
Ohio33
Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia32.5
Delaware, Oklahoma, Vermont32
Kansas, New Hampshire, Wisconsin31.5
Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Dakota31
North Dakota28

The size of a state's standard deviation on its NAEP average scores and it's level of support for McCain is an inverse .36 (p=.01). A state's SD and it's level of support for Bush in '04 is a similar .37 (p=.01)*.

The wider a state's intelligence distribution is, the bluer that state tends to be. In addition to inequalities in educational attainment and wealth, inequalities in IQ are also good for the Democratic party. So the party putatively determined to reduce inequality benefits from doing just the opposite, while the party putatively more tolerant of cutthroat competition and the winners and losers it produces benefits not from economic wins and losses but from draws. This seems to provide some justification for the general sense that red states (especially outside the South) tend to be less chaotic and intrusive places to live, but also tend not to be on the cutting edge of technological or cultural trends, either.

The variances in score distributions is not the result of blue states being more intelligent than red states are, as might be anticipated. There is no relationship between a state's average IQ and voting patterns in Presidential elections**.

The 10.5 point range for the states is not huge, but that does not mean it is not important. California's standard deviation is more than one-third larger than North Dakota's is. Presuming for simplicity that both states' average IQ is 100 and that a 15 IQ point standard deviation is the national standard deviation of 35 for reading, a person with an IQ of 112 is in the 84th percentile in North Dakota, while a person must have an IQ of 117 to be in the 84th percentile in California. Conversely, an IQ of 88 would put a person in the 16th percentile in North Dakota, but it would require an IQ of 83 to be similarly placed in California. California would thus have relatively more of both smarties and dummies running around than the more middling North Dakota would (in reality, as North Dakota's average IQ is, presuming a standard intelligence distribution, half a standard deviation higher than California's is, so in reality California probably has relatively more uber-smarties, dummies, and uber-dummies than North Dakota does).

After realizing the above, I presumed the relationships would be stronger when only white students and white voters were considered, but they are nearly the same as when the entire population is considered. In fact, they're a little weaker. The correlation between NAEP SDs by state and support for McCain is .29 (p=.04). For NAEP SDs and support for Bush, it's .37 (p=.01). The potential strength of these relationships appears to be weakened by the fact that white state-level variances in the South and Midwest are similar, but white support for the Republican candidate is firmer in the former than the latter.

Via Swivel, the data are here.

* The state's aggregated standard deviation used in comparison with the '08 election is computed by finding the state SDs for both the '07 reading and '07 math tests and averaging them. The same is done using reading and math tests from '03 for comparison with the level of Bush support in the '04 Presidential election. It was my intention to use writing and science assessments to create a 'deeper' aggregated SD average, but neither assessment receives full participation by all 50 states and DC. But being able to utilize assessments in math and reading allows for reasonable confidence that both verbal and non-verbal aspects of IQ are being measured.

Parenthetically, this is presumably one reason VCU's Professor McDaniels' used NAEP scores for math and reading to comprise his average IQ estimates by state. Previous estimates were made here that correlated almost perfectly with his, although I used math and science scores. Consequently, for a couple of states I had to rely on math scores alone.

** Given the South's support for the GOP, this might come as a surprise. Remember, though, that as overwhelming as the white vote in the South is for the Republican candidate, significant black support for the Democratic candidate means that the strongest levels of total GOP support tend to come not from Southern states but from states in the heartland, like Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Utah (the three most Republican states in '08). Further, several of the most reliably Democratic states are not the sharpest of the blue. Among the top ten blue states in '08--DC (#51), Hawaii (#48), Vermont (#3), Rhode Island (#37), Massachusetts (#1), New York (#30), Maryland (#34), Illinois (#31), Delaware (#23), and California (#46)--only two are in the upper echelons of average state IQ.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Congress to attach immigrant welfare provision to upcoming SCHIP bill

++Addition++The House bill passed with the provision included. The Senate version, which will likely be voted on next week, does not include it. So what happens in conference committee will be crucial. Consequently, there is still ample time to contact your Congressional representatives in front of the SCHIP expansion passage.

---

It appears one of the first legislative actions the 111th Congress will take is a resurrecting of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expansion that President Bush vetoed in 2007. The funding increase previously passed with virtually unanimous Congressional Democratic support, so there is little reason to expect it will fail this time around with an even larger Democratic majority in place.

Of concern to many readers is a new provision that will make the children of legal immigrants eligible for federal SCHIP funding immediately. From the program's inception over a decade ago, these immigrant families have had to maintain legal status for five years before becoming eligible. According to the WSJ, the new provision is expected to increase eligibility by 400,000 minors, in addition to the 6.6 million who received SCHIP benefits in 2006. Further, it will make immigrant women and children eligible for Medicaid at once.

Why, when there is an underutilized EB-5 Visa program that grants legal residency to potential immigrants who invest $500,000 or more into risky domestic financial enterprises that create ten or more American jobs, must immigrants and their charges be given access to the healthcare dole the moment they are authorized to be living stateside? Are we aiming for an immigration policy that benefits the citizenry, or is the goal to have the citizenry subsidize immigrants?

With an unemployment rate of more than 7% and the major stock indices down 40% over the last year, I suspect opinion polling would reveal an overwhelming majority in opposition to the provision. Supporters are hoping for it to fly under the public radar on the back of SCHIP. If you don't want the furtive tactic to be successful, contact your incoming Senators and House representative to make them aware of your stance as soon as possible. A vote could come as early as this week. Please feel free to copy anything written here for that purpose.

If SCHIP expansion is something you support, perhaps because it will be funded by an increase in excise taxes on tobacco retailers, the approach to take might be to simply question why it is necessary to risk broad Congressional support for SCHIP by attaching a controversial immigration provision that was not in the previously vetoed legislation that received the support of more than two-thirds of Congress.

While the provision may seem of minor significance, it looks to be a canary in the coal mine for the Obama administration. Open borders advocates hoping to persuade the new President that pushing for things like 'comprehensive immigration reform' will be legistatively and politically successful:
Immigrant advocates are hoping the Obama administration and new Congress will go on to tackle bigger measures. Mr. Obama has pledged to try again for a comprehensive immigration bill that had been supported by Mr. Bush but failed in the last Congress. It's unclear, however, how high a priority that is for Mr. Obama, who has placed greater urgency on issues such as economic stimulus, health care and climate change. ...

Immigrant advocates are hopeful that the ban will be eliminated and that the victory will help make the case that pro-immigration action can be a political winner, said Jennifer Ng'andu of the advocacy group National Council of La Raza.

"We consider this the first real test of the new administration and the Congress," she said.
And so must we. Paladins of sovereignty, it's time to rise up again. Eternal vigilance.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Richard Nadler now silent on immigration and the wealth of states?

Last week, the WSJ ran a feature article on the relationship between Hispanics, many of them illegal immigrants, and the housing bubble, which led to what Steve Sailer has aptly labelled the Diversity Recession. This paragraph captures the essence of the home construction craze, essentially a Ponzi scheme:

Regions of the country where the housing bubble grew biggest, such as California, Nevada and Florida, are heavily populated by Latinos, many of whom worked in the construction industry during the housing boom. When these markets began to weaken, bad loans depressed the value of neighboring properties, creating a downward spiral. Neighborhoods are now dotted with vacant homes.

As more immigrants flooded into the "sand states", a nexus of politicians from both parties (although primarily from the Democratic side), the GSEs Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and various Hispanic activist groups pushed for ways to give them loans without down payments, irrespective of the reality that the profligate loans could not conceivably ever be paid back. This uptick in the demand for houses led to more homes being constructed, which created a need for more construction workers--a need that was met by the immigrants who were in large part pushing the increase in demand for more housing starts in the first place.

More houses needed to be built, so more Hispanic immigrants came to build the houses. These new arrivals needed a place to live, too, so more houses had to be built to accomodate them. As long as the creation of all of this 'wealth' buoyed everyone else's home values in the process, whatever could go wrong? Unfortunately, houses do not create wealth, and as Steve Sailer has pointed out, there was no rational reason to assume that an increase in real wealth was going to come from the second lowest quartile of the population in terms of wealth (roughly the portion of the population that was to push the US home ownership rate from 64% up to 70%).

I rehash this to tie it into a bit of a back-and-forth I had with America Majority Foundation's Richard Nadler, a proponent of Republican support for open borders, last October. After talking to him in person for about 15 minutes, I wrote to him in hopes of continuing our debate. He agreed to engage me, but asked that we hold off until after November 4th, as he was understandably busy until then. Following the election, I resent the letter, chased by a couple of quick email exchanges of little substance, none of which contained a response to my challenges. To date, I have not heard from him again.

I suspect his silence stems from the nature of his primary argument in favor of open borders--that states experiencing the greatest growth in their immigrant populations from 1999 to 2006 were the same states that tended to experience the greatest economic growth over the same period of time, put forward in an AMF report entitled "Immigration and the Wealth of States". Page 21 shows states like Nevada, Arizona, California, and Florida near the top in terms of increases in gross state product. What else is unique about those states? Half of all home foreclosures in the country over the last year have occured in them, even though they collectively only represent one-fifth of the nation's population. The country has benefitted little from the faux wealth in these states that has vanished even more quickly than it arrived, while the very real $15-$25 billion in remittances annually sent beyond our borders are not going to similarly come full circle.

Further, to the extent that population growth and economic growth are related, it is the high-IQ, well-educated and innovative types who create wealth. Patent applications provide a reasonable measurement proxy for that wealth creation, and immigrants from Mexico are virtually absent from the list (in line with their poor performance relative to other immigrant groups in the US on a host of other social measures). Unskilled workers tend instead to follow the wealth and fill the more routine jobs that new wealth creates.

His secondary argument is a familiar political one: The GOP should support open borders as a way of reaching out to Hispanics, who are natural Republicans that agree with conservatives on most things, just not immigration restriction.

The '08 Presidential election shows that to be fallacious. Hispanics, who supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries by a margin of 2 to 1, voted for her opponent in the general election even more overwhelmingly than they had voted for Kerry in '04. It does not make sense that Hispanics would reject McCain if their only disagreement with the Republican party came over immigration. Were that actually the case, they should have strongly supported McCain as a way of validating the assertion of men like Nadler that GOP support for open borders is a political winner that will forever put Hispanics in the Republican's camp.

To reject someone like McCain, who they putatively agree with on, well, just about everything, does not compute. It would be comparable to me agreeing with the Democratic party on all of its platform positions except for military interventionism in the Middle East--specifically my wanting the US to stay the course in Iraq, say--and then voting against Joe Lieberman after he was nominated for the Presidency by the DNC as my way of sticking it to the Democratic Party for its dovishness on Iraq!

In reality, a group that is poorer, less educated, more likely to use welfare programs, more likely to engage in criminal activity, more likely to give birth to illegitimate children, less likely to own a home or be able to afford to do so, and much more suspicious of Jews and Israel than the nation at large, in addition to being affirmative action 'eligible', is simply not a natural Republican constituency, given what the GOP putatively stands for today. Shelving sovereignty is not going to change that. It will only increase the size of a group that votes against the GOP.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Atheists worry more than theists do and agnostics average the highest IQ

++Addition++It's pointed out in the comments that a decade ago nearly three-fourths of the members of the National Academy of Sciences were self-described atheists. Among GSS respondents, Wordsum scores for atheists are relatively clustered at 0-1 correct answers and 9-10 correct answers. The standard deviation value is widest for them. While 12.2% of all respondents who answered the question on the certainty of God's existence scored either 9 or 10 on the Wordsum test, 21.2% of atheists did. Conversely, while only 2.5% of all respondents scored 0 or 1 on the Wordsum test, 10.3% of atheists did. So atheists, more than others, seem to come in two distinct varieties--the hyperintelligent empiricist, and the dumb, vicious social outcast.

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In response to the British Humanist Association's ad campaign on London buses, the Inductivist looked at patterns of religious service attendance and life satisfaction in the United Kingdom. He found that those who attend religious services are more satisfied than those who do not.

The GSS allows for a look at professed beliefs in addition to actual religious service attendance. Respondents have also been asked how many days each week they worried about things. Unfortunately, this question was only asked in 1996, a year when respondents' confidence in the existence of God was not inquired about. So I had to settle for a proxy question about respondents' perceptions of the Bible. The average number of days respondents reported feeling worried, by take on the Good Book (N = 959):

Bible is...Days worried
Word of God2.70
Inspired Word2.75
Book of Fables3.24

Click on the graphic for greater resolution. Red shows the percentages of each group who never feel worried. Salmon shows the percentages of each group who feel worried on a daily basis.

The trend among Americans is similar to the trend among Brits. The assertion that religious folks worry too much is simply off the mark. That they remain blithely unaware when they arguably should be worrying might be a more accurate line of attack, but as I often find in exhorting friends who don't pay attention to the news to start doing so, many people do not find getting pent up about things beyond their control an attractive way to spend their time.

The humanists might also point out that the more certain one's belief in God is, the less intelligent that person tends to be. The average IQ by level of confidence in the existence of God by way of converting the mean Wordsum score of whites to an IQ of 100 with a standard deviation of 15 points (N = 6,070):

On God...IQ
Don't believe98.1
No way to find out106.3
Some higher power103.0
Believe sometimes97.0
Believe, but have doubts100.3
Know God exists97.1

Oops, looks like agnostics tend to be more intelligent, on average, than atheists and theists alike! I am reminded (as far as questions about the supernatural are concerned) of Socrates' famous identification of his own superior wisdom in Plato's Apology, where he at least realized his own limitations.

Anyway, just as inviting others to share in your anxiety doesn't constitute much of a sales pitch, neither does informing those who do not share your beliefs that they are stupid.

How should atheists go about spreading their message? The American Humanist Association is trying a different message in DC:

“Why believe in a god?” the ads read, over a picture of a man in a Santa suit. “Just be good for goodness’ sake.”

The GSS shows little difference in volunteering among the three Bible perception categories, although those who believe it to be a book of fables are almost twice as likely to have been picked up by the police (whether or not they were actually guilty of any crime) than those who believe it to be the word of God are.

So maybe the humanist groups' approaches are the best advised, even if they insinuate that becoming a non-believer will make former believers more like actual believers already are.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM, GOD, GIVCHRTY, VOLCHRTY, BIBLE, ARREST

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Smarter women go to bars, but not every night

Agnostic's recent post evincing justification for two pieces of conventional wisdom--that liberal women are more likely than conservative women to hit the bar scene, and that the bar scene is a good place for guys to hunt for flings--gave me an itching to confirm my own stereotype that women who frequent bars usually aren't worth mating with if the goal is to have intelligent children, because presumably intelligence and bar frequenting are inversely correlated.

Turning to the GSS, I set the parameters to target women who are the child-bearers of mate-seeking men. For currently unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 44* Wordsum results are converted to IQ scores (based on a white female mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15) by frequency of spending an evening at a bar. The total sample consists of 2,049 female respondents:

Freq of bar attendanceAvg IQ
Almost daily95.4
Many times a week94.9
Many times a month100.8
Once a month97.7
Many times a year99.4
Once a year98.1
Never92.1

When the data do not cooperate, presumptions need to be adjusted accordingly. Unsurprisingly, women who find themselves at a barstool night after night are not brainiacs. However, women who abstain from the bar scene completely are not either. Women who 'go out' from time to time are relatively more intelligent. So instead of validating my stereotype of women at bars as dullards, the GSS lends more credence to the old adage that moderation is a virtue.

The group that never goes to bars is the largest, representing one in three women, nearly half of whom are religious (believing the Bible to be the literal word of God). Among women who do go to bars, only one in five are similarly religious. Thus a firm Christian belief system is plausibly a significant influencer in social behavior as it relates to bar frequenting among women. There is some redundancy in pointing that out, as Agnostic showed conservative women to be more likely than moderate or liberal women to abstain from the bar scene entirely, but the point to be made is that biblical literalism is correlated with lower intelligence.

* Over 40 years old is already pushing it, but from 45 on, the realistic chance of churning out a child approaches nil.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Increase fuel economy without seeing an eco-driving expert

Awhile back, Fat Knowledge pointed to a report by Ford finding that drivers coached by "eco-driving experts" increased their fuel efficiency markedly:
Tests performed by Ford Motor Company and Pro Formance drivers found that 48 motorists coached by eco-driving experts saw results ranging from 6% fuel economy improvement to more than 50%, depending on their driving style and ability to master eco-driving behaviors. The average fuel economy improvement was 24%.

Eco-driving instructors coached drivers to employ smoother breaking and accelerating, monitor their RPMs and drive at a moderate speed. Among the eco-driving practices that drivers can begin practicing on their own are driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph, keeping tires properly inflated at the recommended pressure, and eliminating prolonged idling.

People are actually trained to do this? I presumed most people are aware their driving habits do not optimize fuel economy, but for various reasons (high time preference, not wanting to focus on something so seemingly trivial, image, etc) did not try to adjust those habits to lower fuel usage.

I need to finally get that damn bumper sticker I regularly wish I had when I'm on the road, especially when someone rides my tail, starts gesticulating, looks backwards over his left shoulder, zips by on my left while initially glaring in my direction before reacting in a host of ways to my best exagerrated Hillary smile gleaming right back at him, and then swings back into the right lane in a failed attempt to cut it close, since he's going faster than I am. The sticker will read "Relax, I'm teaching you to be a better driver".

A couple of years ago, I revealed my 'secrets' to obliterating the EPA listing for the stallion I've had since I depleted my savings to buy it on my sixteenth birthday. The EPA, notoriously known for being overly optimistic, states an average economy of 23 mpg. I get 31 by doing a few simple things (admittedly, I compromise out of courtesy when it is socially or professionally necessary to do so):

- Inflate all tires to 42 psi.
- Never top 55 mph.
- Keep engine rpms under 2,000 at all times.
- Never use the AC.
- Crack the driver's side window an inch, leaving all others up.
- Ease the accelerator slightly during accelerations to cause a premature gear shift (it's an automatic).
- Study traffic signals assiduously as I approach from a distance, attempting to minimize the use of braking by speeding up or coasting depending on the point in the intersection's cycle.

The EPA estimates that eco-driving techniques will increase the average driver's fuel efficiency by 15%. I've been able to realize more than twice that. It's really not something you need professional instruction to pull off. Just make a game of it. Among the most satisfying victories you will have is when someone does to you what I described previously, beats you by a few hundred feet to the next intersection at which he has to come to a complete stop, and then gets to enjoy you cruising by him at 45 mph as you anticipate the signal turning green and thus do not have to slow at all, leaving him behind with the opportunity for the process to repeat itself on your way to the next major intersection.


Sounds like a pretty crappy game to you? Well, do it for Mother Earth or to impoverish the House of Saud, then!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Re: Palin rumors; among pregnant, older women more likely to have Down baby than teens are

++Addition++Commenter Gullydale does the math:
In 2006 there were a total of 4,265,996 births, 15-19 year olds gave birth to 435,427 babies. 40-44 year olds gave birth to 105,476 babies. By Bayes Theorem (using 1/1250 and 1/45 as the odds), given that we know that a child has down syndrome, the probability that the mother was 40-44 is 43% and that the mother was 15-19 is 6%.
So, even taking into account the fact that a woman Bristol's age is more likely to be impregnated than someone Sarah's age is, women of Sarah's age range are more than six times as likely to have Down babies are girls Bristol's age are to have them.

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Half Sigma's 'conspiracy theorizing' about Sarah Palin playing the birth of her grandson off as her own needs to address one crucial statistical tendency arguing strongly against it--babies with Down Syndrome are more than an order of magnitude more likely to be born to women in their forties than they are to be born to teenage girls. This table shows that one in forty births to a woman Sarah's age (44) will be Down babies. In contrast, only one in 1,250 births to girls daughter Bristol's age (18) will be. So Sarah is more than 30 times as likely to have had a baby with Down's Syndrome than Bristol is.

As HS' case is built on lots of suggestive circumstantial evidence, he should at least address the improbability (not the impossibility, of course) of Sarah Palin not being the mother of the Down baby.