Sunday, December 18, 2011

Characteristics of smart people who don't go to college

In the comments section of the last post, reader SFG wonders about the characteristics of people who are smart but who do not go to college.

Using GSS data, I created a two-category variable where people with eight through ten out of ten questions correct on a vocabulary quiz but who never went to college are assigned a one, and everyone else is given a zero. Those in the first category make up about 11 percent of the total adult population surveyed over the past 40 years.

Next, I chose eight variables as predictors. Here are the logistic regression coefficients (sample size = 16,215):

Logistic Regression Coefficients

Year -.02
Age .02
Sex .42
Race 1.45
Father's education .03
Church attendance -.04
Political conservatism .01
Number of offspring -.03

All of the predictors are significantly related to the outcome variable except for political conservatism. So what is the profile of someone who is smart but went no further than high school?  I'll attempt to list factors from most powerful to least: older, white, being surveyed in earlier years, female, having an educated father, going to church less often, and having fewer children.

I also compared the mean incomes of the two categories. The smart group that didn't go to college made about $1,000 more a year than the average for the other group.

Many of the factors make sense. Older people from earlier cohorts were less likely to go to college, even if they were intelligent. The same for women. Blacks are much less likely to be bright people who fail to attend college. Having a successful father can sometimes open a good career path that requires no higher education. Perhaps irreligiosity indicates unconventionality. Political attitudes appear to have no effect on choosing to avoid college.

27 comments:

bgc said...

I would predict that - if IQ, age cohort effects are controlled - e.g. by looking at only young people - the main predictor would be personality.

My prediction of predictors of NOT attending college in order of importance:

Low in Conscientiousness

High in Neuroticism

Low in Agreeableness

Jim Bowery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Bowery said...

Thanks for running the data. I've got a question about your statement:

"I'll attempt to list factors from most powerful to least"

The order of the variables you list seems to bear little relationship to the magnitude of their coefficients. What factors other than LRC go into rank-ordering variables by "power"?

Political conservatism being at the bottom of the list is surprising. Are we to conclude that higher education has virtually no effect on one's political leanings if one has a high IQ?

BTW: Why go with logistic rather than Pearson correlation?

Bill said...

Hmmm, I would have compared smart/no-college to smart/college, rather than smart/no-college to everyone else. The race coefficient would likely be different as a result, for example.

A couple of presentation nits. "Sex" is a bad variable name. "Male" or "Female" would be much better. Similarly for "Race."

SFG said...

First of all, Ron, thanks so much for responding to my question!

Logistic regression: he's got a yes-or-no dependent variable, right? Pearson is for correlating quantities.

Well, if I've read this correctly, conservatism has no effect on your likelihood of being a smart person who avoids college. (It might increase your chances of being smart and going to college, or decrease both, and the effects might cancel.)

That said I'd be surprised if college had *no* liberalizing effect on the undecided; I just figure intelligent conservatives go to college, grit their teeth, and ignore their liberal teachers and then go into business. The problem is that people who go to college differ in other ways from people who don't, primarily by SES and IQ. You don't know which way the arrow of causation goes.

What you'd somehow have to do is look at *the same* people's attitudes before and after they entered college; if the GSS doesn't track this, maybe look at everyone who was 15-18 in 1972 and then everyone who was 23-26 in 1980; i.e., try to follow a cohort.

You'd want to focus on racial attitudes, to answer Jim's original question; a lot of people become more right-wing as they start earning money.

Thanks again!

dearieme said...

Not nit: "sex" is just fine.

Jim Bowery said...

SFG, I suppose I should have asked "What happens if you look at Pearson regression by replacing categorical with continuum variables?"

While it is certainly worthwhile running a similar test of "political conservatism" in general to see what variables are most predictive (I'd be surprised if Ron hasn't done this before on this blog) the thing that I find particularly intriguing -- even heartening -- is that folks with higher IQ's don't seem affected much by higher education's vicious indoctrination. WOW!

SFG said...

"While it is certainly worthwhile running a similar test of "political conservatism" in general to see what variables are most predictive (I'd be surprised if Ron hasn't done this before on this blog) the thing that I find particularly intriguing -- even heartening -- is that folks with higher IQ's don't seem affected much by higher education's vicious indoctrination. WOW!"

Oh, not as crazy as it sounds.

First of all, I don't think people actually pay all that much attention to what they hear in class. A lot of people are simply there to party.

Second, these are the same kids who several years ago decided their parents were wrong about music, dress, and all the usual subjects of teenage rebellion. You don't think they'll thumb their noses at college professors, probably the nerdiest people around?

Third, once people get out into the real world, they learn pretty quick what the neighborhoods to avoid are, what the schools to keep your kids out of are, and so on. The Matrix isn't as effective as it seems. The world's quite different than the picture of it you'd get from the PC newspapers/TV/magazines.

The people who get most indoctrinated are humanities majors, but personality traits being what they are, those are likely people who were on the left side of the political spectrum to begin with. How much 'anti-racism' do you think goes on in an Animal Science course, or in Calculus II?

IHTG said...

I agree with SFG. It seems to me that the real problem with the 'liberal academia' in the United States is the outsized influence of its members in determining public policy.

'Brainwashing' of children is an exaggerated phenomenon - the collective hysteria of generations of fathers sending their virginal daughters to a far away college and receiving something not-so-virginal after four years, perhaps.

Jason Malloy said...

Going to college makes people more likely to vote Republican. I've quoted this before, however the article is no longer online:

"Adults 25 and under from Republican homes are, for example, 11 percentage points more likely to vote Republican if they attended college than if they didn’t. And young adults from Democratic households are 11 percentage points less likely to vote Democrat if they’ve gone to college than if not."

Jim Bowery said...

Malloy's cited article says: "Does all this mean that our colleges and universities are actually breeding grounds for conservatism? Hardly. What the statistics really show is that higher education by itself doesn’t affect political views very much. Rather, in addition to the strong influence of parents, it is higher incomes — which typically reward a college education in America — that push people to the right politically."

But we see from Ron's data that in the case of the higher IQ population, there is no income advantage to higher education. Perhaps we could say that this is the explanation for there being zero influence from higher education on the conservatism of the higher IQ population.

I'm still dubious about the lack of any leftist ideological impact from higher education. For instance, those who enter the managerial elite are known to be uniformly for increasing the labor supply regardless of the impact on the nation. While this is clearly a neocon position, hence "conservative", there is a sense in which it is left of Trotsky.

SFG said...

I'm still dubious about the lack of any leftist ideological impact from higher education. For instance, those who enter the managerial elite are known to be uniformly for increasing the labor supply regardless of the impact on the nation. While this is clearly a neocon position, hence "conservative", there is a sense in which it is left of Trotsky.

There's a much simpler explanation for this: business managers want to make money, and they can do that by paying their workers less. Race replacement is a side effect, not the desired effect. It may be the desired effect for other groups of people, but managers just want to decrease costs such as labor.

There's a natural human tendency to think in terms of 'us' and 'them' and assume that 'they' are monolithic, but in fact the elite is made of several power groups--journalists, academics, politicians, bankers, lawyers--which frequently fight with each other over pieces of the pie. Immigration just looks like a conspiracy because both the 'liberal' and 'conservative' arms of the Establishment are in favor of increasing it--the left wants votes and the right wants cheap labor. There are plenty of Old Left union types who hate to see wages driven down, just as Old Righties such as yourself hate to see the ethnic balance change...but neither of you has enough power to do anything about it.

In the end, I think reducing this to a simple left-right construct is of limited value when faced with something this complicated. A neocon or libertarian could say you're not really conservative because you're for big government to bar immigration, and you could say they're not conservative because they're ignoring America's roots. Left and right really refer to coalitions that can be in flux. Politics is about groups fighting for power and resources, and they can and do change sides as it's useful to them.

Personally, if you want to keep America as white as possible (which I do *not* disagree with, BTW, having lived in NYC during the pre-Giuliani years, though I don't mind a little yellow), I'd recommend sticking to the legal arguments against immigration and trying to get any Republican in office. Alabama seems to be making it pretty hot for illegal immigrants, and Romney or Gingrich would likely make suing them much less of a priority than Obama would. Of course their business backers will continue to screw the working man.

Alternatively, you could try to build support for a third party. I do think an anti-libertarian (socially conservative, economically liberal) party could draw together the Old Right and the (white) working class and have some effect.

SFG said...

Oh, there probably is some leftist ideological impact, I'll admit--particularly in cultural areas (and race might be included in those). But I doubt the whole problem results entirely or even in large part from leftist brainwashing in college.

First of all, racists/race-realists really screwed themselves back in WW2 with the whole Nazi thing. I mean, it's one thing to talk about separate water fountains and underfunded schools, but forget the Holocaust--German racial imperialism got FIFTY MILLION PEOPLE killed in that war, and totally destroyed Europe's dominance in world affairs. And, of course, it scared the Jews, with all the results you now know.

Second, the US wanted to win the cold war, which meant convincing people our way of life was better than Russia's. Racial segregation looked really bad to Europeans--the Communists were always going on about it. So it's natural the elite would want to get rid of it eventually.

Third, segregation never had huge appeal outside of the South. Northerners were pretty happy using money to isolate themselves, and liked cheap labor for the factories anyway. Paleocons often underestimate the Yankee side of the Yankee-Jewish alliance. There are plenty of liberals with blond hair and blue eyes, particularly up in New England. The Southern agrarian is only half of the American tradition--the Puritan dreaming of God's kingdom on earth metamorphosed, ironically, into the liberal social engineer dreaming of utopias.

Jim Bowery said...

Regardless of how we got here -- here we are:

When the definition of genocide was inverted from its Geneva Convention definition to, instead become virtually identical (in an intellectual equivalent of pheromone engineering) with national preservation, it unleashed the darker aspects of human nature in those being groomed for leadership.

I mean, all you have to do to kill lots of people is, for example, get civil engineers thinking it is "anal retentive" to be concerned about safety factors and such "Naziesque" ideas. The same applies to folks in managerial elites: All you have to do to get them to destroy the societies they manage is to teach them that what is normal prudence is the moral equivalent of evil -- and that self-indulgence is "good".

Anonymous said...

There isn't necessarily a sharp divide between the higher education ideological environment and the mainstream ideological environment, unless a young person in a wholly fundamentalist environment is suddenly dropped into a liberal university once they turn 18.

A young person who follows pop culture, mainstream media, Hollywood, mainstream politics, etc. before college will be "primed" already in many ways into the dominant ideology. Higher education serves to cement what has largely been imprinted already and arms it with more sophisticated rationalizations and justifications. It also ensures some degree of future loyalty by offering conduits to certain lifelong elite or managerial niches whose general cultures have largely enshrined the dominant ideology and fitting in involves conforming to it - at the least not deviating from it or opposing it significantly. At elite universities, interviews for investment banking and other elite jobs include "fit" interviews where they try to determine how well you "fit" into the cultures at the firms. And everyone understands the basic political culture beforehand - they're socially liberal and fiscally or economically "conservative" (i.e. neo-liberal) and globalist, with some acceptable variation in opinion on things like taxes or gov't spending. Those who don't accept the dominant ideology mainly do so privately and outwardly mouth the platitudes or remain silent, and they don't actively oppose the culture.

Anonymous said...

big government to bar immigration

It doesn't require "big government" to stop immigration.

racists/race-realists really screwed themselves back in WW2 with the whole Nazi thing.

The implication here is that "racists/race-realists" anywhere, at any time, in the past, present, and future, are "Nazis". Obviously this isn't true and is prima facie absurd. But there are people who believe this, including you apparently, and these people insist that it is true and act accordingly.

German racial imperialism

Japanese racial imperialism killed millions as well.

And of course communists all over the world killed tens of millions, up to 100 million by some estimates.

Racial segregation looked really bad to Europeans

segregation never had huge appeal outside of the South.

the Puritan dreaming of God's kingdom on earth metamorphosed, ironically, into the liberal social engineer dreaming of utopias.

Segregation is a red herring. The change in racial and ethnic balance has to do with immigration laws.

Invoking "Puritan" here is a way of deflecting blame or attention away from what and who brought about the change into liberal social engineering.

Anonymous said...

'Brainwashing' of children is an exaggerated phenomenon - the collective hysteria of generations of fathers sending their virginal daughters to a far away college and receiving something not-so-virginal after four years, perhaps.

Nobody has used the term "brainwashing" here aside from you and SFG.

The term connotes something extreme and comical. The only point of using such a term is to make anyone here arguing for some amount of ideological influence imparted in universities also seem to be arguing something extreme and comical.

Virginal daughters returning from college not-so-virginal also represents the kind of ideological indoctrination being discussed here. If you take a monogamous society with chastity, especially for women, being the norm, and women largely excluded from higher education, and then start funneling women into a college environment that is conducive to sexual activity, promotes it, and justifies it and says it is ok and good, that reflects ideological indoctrination.

Anonymous said...

SFG and IHTG are both Jewish. They can't be expected to be objective about this issue.

IHTG said...

I'm just trying to be logically consistent. Paleos rightly complain that the elite opinions are radically out of step with the masses, in particular with regards to immigration.

That means that, no, the people aren't being indoctrinated. If they were, they wouldn't be out of step!

SFG said...

Or that the indoctrination isn't working because it runs into reality. ;)

Communism killed lots of people...sure did, and that's one reason it's not too popular anymore either. Its weak cousin, socialism, was implemented in Nordic countries without killing anyone and therefore has a much better rap. Whether it would work in a diverse country like the US, I'm not sure.

I'm not denying that people I bear some blood relation to are screwing up the country. Believe me, I get into arguments with my more liberal comrades about the immigration issue all the time. (They all seem to claim that Great-Aunt Sarah getting turned away in 1939 means they have to support all immigration of any group forever. It's really stupid.)

I was saying there were a couple other people involved too. For example, the Kennedy immigration bill you cite was partially concocted to let more Irish people into Boston.

And I wouldn't call segregation a red herring. Anyone who's studied NAMs knows that blacks are worse than Hispanics...and that whites used to be able to insulate themselves from NAM crime through segregation. Rich whites still do it by living in expensive neighborhoods.

I didn't say that race-realists at any time in history are Nazis...simply that Nazis gave race-realism a very bad name by dragging eugenics through the mud. I'd like to see a eugenics program to raise the black IQ, but are we ever going to get anywhere with it now?

The Nazis were actually pretty shitty race-realists. They drove out a lot of their best scientists and tried to exterminate lots of Eastern Europeans who would have been happy to get rid of Stalin. You don't think an old Imperial German like Haber would have *loved* to make nasty chemicals for Hitler if he'd given him the chance? What if Fermi hadn't been worried about his wife? You had Italian Jews in the Fascist party, for crying out loud! If Hitler had stuck to gassing Communists he would have won the war.

Back to the original topic...you actually have a really good point about the effects of the media (quite Jewish, BTW). It's more applicable to topics like gay rights...

As for chastity being lost...that's just the birds and the bees. People didn't marry this late historically so it's hard to make them wait.

Anonymous said...

I'm just trying to be logically consistent. Paleos rightly complain that the elite opinions are radically out of step with the masses, in particular with regards to immigration.

That means that, no, the people aren't being indoctrinated. If they were, they wouldn't be out of step!


"The masses" don't go through higher education. Not at the rate or amount or level (i.e. prestige) that the elites do.

"Indoctrination" works by manufacturing the ideological environment and setting the limits of acceptable discourse. The fact that many among the masses don't share the exact position as the elites doesn't mean they aren't being "indoctrinated" - most of them are within the limits of acceptable discourse, they don't consider things like ending any and all immigration, reversing immigration, repatriation, removing certain groups from certain positions, etc.

Anonymous said...

For example, the Kennedy immigration bill you cite was partially concocted to let more Irish people into Boston.

The 1965 Immigration Act reduced Irish immigration. In Kennedy's own words: ""Prior to the '65 act, you had about 30,000 Irish that were coming in. And then we had those reduced to about 20,000."

http://www.irishlobbyusa.org/kennedy_1965Act.php

And I wouldn't call segregation a red herring.

Segregation is a red herring when discussing the change in ethnic balance. The change is due to non-black immigrants and birth rates.

Nazis gave race-realism a very bad name by dragging eugenics through the mud.

The Nazis didn't give it a bad name. I've never met a Nazi that left me with a bad impression of "race-realism" or eugenics. I've never met a Nazi, period. All the people I know have never met Nazis either. They just either "feel" or know that they're supposed to "feel" that "race-realism" and eugenics because that's what's been mediated to them by various channels. They never met a Nazi, nor did they sit down and think it through and arrive at such feelings.

The Japanese were just as "race-realist" and interested in eugenics as the Germans were. Race-realism and eugenics don't have a bad name because of the Japanese, even in those areas most affected by Japanese actions during WWII such as Korea and China.

As for chastity being lost...that's just the birds and the bees. People didn't marry this late historically so it's hard to make them wait.

No, it's not "just the birds and the bees". The birds and the bees have always been around - they didn't change, something else did.

And the population I'm talking about did marry "late" historically:

http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2011/11/western-european-marriage-pattern.html

SFG said...

You haven't met a Nazi recently. There were plenty of them in 1939 and they made a lot of trouble. I'm talking about the persistent effects of WWII which are now beginning to wear off, not a few Von Thronstahl (good band, BTW) fans in Frankfurt.

Looks like I was wrong about the immigration act as well--though Celler, Hart, and Kennedy (Jew/WASP/Irish) strikes me as pretty much a 'rainbow coalition' for 1965.

Interesting link--I'm surprised anyone would wait to marry until 24(!) in the premodern era. With life being as risky as it was that strikes me as asking for trouble. Nevertheless, I stand corrected.

Hey, I can always convert. There are plenty of denominations that will overlook a Jewish mother. ;) Maybe I could go work for FAIR or something.

Anonymous said...

There were plenty of them in 1939 and they made a lot of trouble.

There were plenty of Japanese in 1939 and they made a lot of trouble.

I'm talking about the persistent effects of WWII

The "persistent effects" are not mystical, disembodied forces that magically cause people to think or feel a certain way. People "feel" or know that they're supposed to "feel" that "race-realism" and eugenics because that's what's been mediated to them by various channels.

Celler, Hart, and Kennedy (Jew/WASP/Irish) strikes me as pretty much a 'rainbow coalition' for 1965.

Except there's much more that goes into major legislative changes than the Congressmen involved, as was indeed the case here. And those three weren't even equally involved, Celler was the most active and aggressive and proposed it. Celler had been trying to liberalize immigration law for decades, even since before the passage of the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act which restricted immigration.

Anonymous said...

Celler, Hart, and Kennedy (Jew/WASP/Irish) strikes me as pretty much a 'rainbow coalition' for 1965.


The 1965 immigration act was passed by overwhelming margins in the House and Senate, and signed into law most enthusiastically by that Southern Scotch-Irishman, Lyndon Baines Johnson.

I realize that it is emotionally satisfying for some people to pretend that Americas historical stock were "stabbed in the back" by the evil furreners, but historically speaking that's a Big Fat Lie.

Wandrin said...

Army, Police, Firefighter
- adrenaline junkies

Skilled trades
- a lot of smart people would stay as a skilled tradesman if they were born into it simply for the freedom

Outdoorsy jobs
- just cos

If the list includes people who went to college but dropped out before graduating then as well as those who partly-fitted the above categories and made their mind made up while at college there's

- rebellious
- druggie
- mentally unstable

Kathyyhiq said...

Y8 Y8 Games www Y8 com Game truck. Y8 Truck Play the truck games online from y8. Monster (98) Motorcycle (108) Mouse Skill (2015) Movie (15) Multiplayer (16). Monster Truck Madness 2. Monster Truck Madness 2 combines outrageous. in multiplayer games. Download Now (909 KB) MORE AUDIO GOODNESS. A big part of Monster Truck 1 is, of course, Army. Truck Parking Games, Play Online Free Truck Parking Games. Truck Parking Games, Best truck parking games playing there. Click and play best truck games. ; Parking Games; Racing Games; Truck Games; Truck Parking Games Play Online Mini Monster Challenge 2 Game listing at Flash Racing. Try Monster Challenge 2 great sequel of Monster Challenge. In this Monster truck racing game you can try: Truck Time Trial, Monster Truck Jump, Distance Challenge.