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wasoxygen  ·  1344 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Quiz solution: Income Mobility

    As I pointed out in the original thread, the controls in the news article were bad enough that the data aren't incredibly useful.

Your disappointment in the article's rigor was not very evident at first. In the this whole "land of opportunity" thing is bunk dialog you seemed to endorse the premise of "white privilege," giving yourself as an example of someone who "did technically graduate high school, but barely" and yet ended up affluent.

The big idea of the article is that good life choices, especially relating to education, do not matter. What matters is whether you are born to a rich or poor family.

I did not question the data provided. In my view the data provide evidence that education is the most important factor in having a better future, and birth status is not a good predictor of future outcomes, completely contrary to the article.

After I criticized the article's conclusions, you criticized the data. Your objection seems to be that only two of four subgroups are considered:

  poor kids who graduate
  rich kids who drop out of school
and two subgroups are ignored:

  poor kids who drop out of school
  rich kids who graduate
If we want to know which factor is more important, birth status or education, we won't learn anything by looking at the latter two groups. I think we can speculate that poor dropouts have bad outcomes, and rich graduates have good outcomes, without stretching credulity nor contradicting my conclusion about education being the best single predictor of outcomes, based on the data given. The two subgroups considered are the ones we must examine to determine if birth status or education make more of a difference.

It is particularly odd that you cite your personal story, since you (born to a "middle class white family" and having completed an advanced degree that you neglected to mention) belong to one of the subgroups that leaves the cause and effect relationship unclear. Why do you believe it was "white privilege" and not your doctorate that enabled you to become an art collector?

(Note: it's harder for poor kids to get a good education, obviously. For best results, start rich and stay in school. But if you want to end up in the top 20%, the data show that it's better to start poor and stay in school than to start rich and drop out. This is what meritocracy looks like.)