Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Those tall smart people could really get screwed...

Greg Mankiw notes in his research that taxing height is not such a bad idea from an economic perspective. After all, tall people are given an unearned advantage in life, right? (For those of you that aren't convinced, a friend of mine told me about a study where, in a mating sense, the compensating differential needed for 6 inches of lost height was found to be about $140,000 in income. Sheesh.)

A NYT article last week discussed findings that first-born children have, on average, IQs about 3 points higher than other people. (For those of you that are curious, the difference is atributed to nurture rather than nature, which is weird since I didn't think that IQ was sensitive to environment.) Does this mean that taxing first-born children would also make sense economically? I think the excerpt from the article, reprinted below, helps make the case:

Three points on an I.Q. test may not sound like much. But experts say it can be a tipping point for some people — the difference between a high B average and a low A, for instance. That, in turn, can have a cumulative effect that could mean the difference between admission to an elite private liberal-arts college and a less exclusive public one.


Charles said...

The height statistic mentioned was in a NYT article not too long ago (April 2007). Here's a PDF link to the paper referenced in the article.

Angad said...

"...which is weird since I didn't think that IQ was sensitive to environment." That is very disappointing coming from a harvard educated economist. If you have read Steve Pinker or any other super-nerdy psyhologists you should know that genes count somewhere between 30%-70% of a person's cognitive abilities (the exact affect is unknown). So the environment affects at least 30% and also has the range of 30%-70% affect on IQ.

Angad said...

I am second-child and when I read the IQ article and I was so upset that I decided not to get out of my bed for a week. This is really bad news for me lol.

But since you have decided to outline my weakness, let me point one of yours as a woman. The politically-incorrect economist Steve Landsburg wrote this article suggesting that women CHOKE under pressure.


He cites the examples of pressure situations in tennis where men do better than women.

I don't buy it completely but I like this guy because he proposed my favorite solution to AIDS in his book "MORE SEX IS BETTER SEX." Now this is a no-brainer and I hope we all agree without any further delibrations and try our best to contribute to the society by increasing our frequency of copulation. cheers!