pkimelma

This is a very interesting article and I think Fryer's research is quite important. Although he is using new terms for old concepts ("statistical racism" used to be called "Institutional racism" I believe), I think some of the underlying trend patterns is what is most fascinating.
However, I am not sure I buy the friend model related to achievement. The assumption that White groups value education more than group activities is unlikely (sports team affiliation is a common "white group activity" and is usually valued more than academic activities). The article did not discuss whether he broke out social class (regardless of race), parental employment type, and other factors/variables that could influence the kids. That is, I would assume that unless you could look at white kids in poor areas against white kids in wealthy or middle class areas, you could not say it was a racial issue per se. In some sense, it relates to the Purple/Green study. In areas where the parents also have sort of given up, they will instill in their kids the valuing of group activities over societal ones. I could be way off, but the article did not show this and I cannot find any breakout of the database mining research.

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egretman

Great article. Need more research along these lines. This kind of economic reasoning applied to real world problems is why Freakonomics was such a great book.

egretman

Why is it that only (?) African-Americans are caught up in this vicious cycle of statistical bias? And not other minority groups?

And if African-American parents valued education over and above all else, as Asian-American parents seem to do, then would this eventually break the cycle?

editorguy

Never ceases to amaze me how race in America only becoms more complex with time. Or perhaps that's just my perception as I age.

BTW, SL (&SD), happen to notice the review by "Bookmarks Magazine" beneath Harford's Amazon listing? An excerpt: "Compared with Steven Levitt's and Stephen J. Dubner's popular Freakonomics ... the book uses simple, playful examples (written in plain English) to elucidate complex economic theories."

I guess "Freakonomics" was just too much of a doorstop for Bookmarks, whoever the hell they are. All that fancy English you guys employed -- makes you wonder how you guys got on the bestseller list for a Dark Side of The Moon-like period of weeks.

sdsander

I enjoyed reading about Fryer in Freakonomics.
However, isn't the comparison between Fryer and the Ted Kaczynski problematic. The basic point, as I remember, was that Fryer had no positive parenting while the Unabomber had a great deal. However, Fryer became quite successful while the Unabomber went in the other direction. Thus, the returns to good parenting may not be as great as is commonly thought (or something to this effect).

However, this comparison basically says that some people succeed in spite of poor parenting, but not all people succeed in spite of mental illness. If Kaczynski's parents had raised Fryer but Fryer had been born mentally ill, would he be an apparently stable Harvard economist right now?

Shane
economics blog- sdsander.livejournal.com

stuart

Excellent article. How easy is it to get funding for "racial" research as opposed to other areas? I would want to see more research done in these areas but I wouldn't be surprised if funding bodies actually run a little shy of race.

egretman

Sdsander, you fall into the common trap of quoting anecdotes. Economic research is about the broad demographic.

Good parenting is essential to the whole problem. But yes, rarely, a kacynski will be born and raised.

Doesn't negate the solution however.

sdsander

Hello egretman,

I didn't fall into any sort of trap. I was commenting on a point made in the book. I thought they took a noisy anecdote too far. Maybe you should refresh on your reading.

sdsander

Also egretman,
It isn't valid to say that economics is about the broad demographic. Economics need not be about any demographic at all.

Shane

egretman

Yes, sdsander, after having read your 2nd to the last comment, I can see how your first comment was commenting on their anecdote. So I profusely apologise for the "trap" comment. I however wish to thank you for allowing me the "teachable moment" about anecdotes vs the demographic.

As to your last comment, I of course meant to say GOOD economics is about the demographic and not the anecdote.

james c. collier

...a slightly different spin on acting white (sorry for the length)...

There are two circumstances of acting white. The first is academic and the more researched and talked about, wherein black students are derided, usually by other blacks, for studious behavior. The second is over arching and far more damaging, with blacks rejecting a wider swath of advancing behaviors which they have come to associate with whites. In place of these advancing behaviors, they substitute counter-productive actions often branded as cultural, in an attempt to defend their authenticity.

In the latter case, the result is a reduction or failure to assimilate behaviors that are intellectually, emotionally, and economically advancing to the group. What remain are blacks holding themselves at the rear of the opportunity line, long after whites have removed the shackles of slavery and institutional racism. The impact of this loss of contribution of the group on the country is quietly devastating.

Economically, the loss can be calculated to an astonishing $440 billion, per year, in goods and services that blacks do not generate, relative to the rest of the country. This amounts to just over 3.8% of year US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As part of this loss, blacks suffer a significant loss of income, and resulting benefit.

Intellectually, blacks feel the impact through poor academics, under performance, high dropout rates, reduced higher education pursuit, and general feelings of inferiority compared to other groups, particularly whites. This real disparity of resulting skills translates into reduced employment, lower wages, and slower wealth accumulation. Emotionally, blacks suffer greater comparable stress related impacts, including heath problems, interpersonal challenges, and a lower general quality of life.

The acting white phenomena began when W. African slaves were first delivered into this country in the 1500's. The accusation has evolved from laws first enacted and long enforced by whites to bar blacks from developing skills that would advance the group, and challenge white control. Even as legal barriers came down, policy barriers maintained the majority objective that blacks should not assimilate the behaviors that would develop the skill base for propelling them into the American Dream.

In the last 50 years policy has reluctantly recognized the cost of its anti-assimilation strategy, forced upon blacks, and has largely eliminated it. However, blacks remain significantly in a state, or mind set, of anti-assimilation whereby many members of the group continue to freely reject the advancing behaviors their ancestors were earlier denied by law. This scope of rejection has grown to include lawlessness and violence perpetrated inside and outside the group, resulting in a soaring black prison population.

We, including individuals on all sides of the issues, have yet to come to effective terms with the evolution and remnants of anti-assimilation attitudes and policies, fostered for 400 years by the white majority, and now independently operating within the black community, to the increasing detriment of the entire country.

James C. Collier

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pkimelma

This is a very interesting article and I think Fryer's research is quite important. Although he is using new terms for old concepts ("statistical racism" used to be called "Institutional racism" I believe), I think some of the underlying trend patterns is what is most fascinating.
However, I am not sure I buy the friend model related to achievement. The assumption that White groups value education more than group activities is unlikely (sports team affiliation is a common "white group activity" and is usually valued more than academic activities). The article did not discuss whether he broke out social class (regardless of race), parental employment type, and other factors/variables that could influence the kids. That is, I would assume that unless you could look at white kids in poor areas against white kids in wealthy or middle class areas, you could not say it was a racial issue per se. In some sense, it relates to the Purple/Green study. In areas where the parents also have sort of given up, they will instill in their kids the valuing of group activities over societal ones. I could be way off, but the article did not show this and I cannot find any breakout of the database mining research.

Read more...

egretman

Great article. Need more research along these lines. This kind of economic reasoning applied to real world problems is why Freakonomics was such a great book.

egretman

Why is it that only (?) African-Americans are caught up in this vicious cycle of statistical bias? And not other minority groups?

And if African-American parents valued education over and above all else, as Asian-American parents seem to do, then would this eventually break the cycle?

editorguy

Never ceases to amaze me how race in America only becoms more complex with time. Or perhaps that's just my perception as I age.

BTW, SL (&SD), happen to notice the review by "Bookmarks Magazine" beneath Harford's Amazon listing? An excerpt: "Compared with Steven Levitt's and Stephen J. Dubner's popular Freakonomics ... the book uses simple, playful examples (written in plain English) to elucidate complex economic theories."

I guess "Freakonomics" was just too much of a doorstop for Bookmarks, whoever the hell they are. All that fancy English you guys employed -- makes you wonder how you guys got on the bestseller list for a Dark Side of The Moon-like period of weeks.

sdsander

I enjoyed reading about Fryer in Freakonomics.
However, isn't the comparison between Fryer and the Ted Kaczynski problematic. The basic point, as I remember, was that Fryer had no positive parenting while the Unabomber had a great deal. However, Fryer became quite successful while the Unabomber went in the other direction. Thus, the returns to good parenting may not be as great as is commonly thought (or something to this effect).

However, this comparison basically says that some people succeed in spite of poor parenting, but not all people succeed in spite of mental illness. If Kaczynski's parents had raised Fryer but Fryer had been born mentally ill, would he be an apparently stable Harvard economist right now?

Shane
economics blog- sdsander.livejournal.com

stuart

Excellent article. How easy is it to get funding for "racial" research as opposed to other areas? I would want to see more research done in these areas but I wouldn't be surprised if funding bodies actually run a little shy of race.

egretman

Sdsander, you fall into the common trap of quoting anecdotes. Economic research is about the broad demographic.

Good parenting is essential to the whole problem. But yes, rarely, a kacynski will be born and raised.

Doesn't negate the solution however.

sdsander

Hello egretman,

I didn't fall into any sort of trap. I was commenting on a point made in the book. I thought they took a noisy anecdote too far. Maybe you should refresh on your reading.

sdsander

Also egretman,
It isn't valid to say that economics is about the broad demographic. Economics need not be about any demographic at all.

Shane