Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Something to ponder

Having picked on the always-worth-reading Tyler Cowen for his travel recommendations the other day, I here praise him for calling our attention to this fascinating quote:
We examine the educational backgrounds of more than 2,900 members of the U.S. cultural elite and compare these backgrounds to a sample of nearly 4,000 business and political leaders. We find that the leading U.S. educational institutions are substantially more important for preparing future members of the cultural elite than they are for preparing future members of the business or political elite. In addition, members of the cultural elite who are recognized for outstanding achievements by peers and experts are much more likely to have obtained degrees from the leading educational institutions than are those who achieve acclaim from popular audiences.
That is from a paper titled, "Where Ivy Matters: The Educational Backgrounds of U.S. Cultural Elites". Cowen's post can be found here.

What this tells us is that an Ivy League degree is of more value as a credential than the actual education that goes with it. It is only the latest bit of evidence that suggests that these elite universities have succeeded in creating an unfair system that looks like a meritocracy on the surface but is actually based on privilege at the core.

I suspect Canadian stats would be similar. What I would like to see would be a comparison between the bureaucratic, who tend to be evaluated by "peers and experts", and elected politicians. [Last sentence edited 2020-01-27.]

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