Saturday, February 17, 2007
Smart people are only slightly less criminal: Plato thought that if people broke the law, they did it out of lack of understanding, since men naturally and rationally pursue happiness, and crime only brings misery. He would have predicted a strong inverse correlation between IQ and criminality, but the General Social Survey disagrees with him. I used logistic regression to estimate the relationship between a person's score on a vocabulary test and whether they have ever been arrested (1 for yes, 2 for no). The coefficient for whites is .052, and it's .054 for blacks. In English, what that means is that IQ explains not even close to one percent of criminality. Maybe Plato wanted to see a virtue in people like himself that just isn't there.