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Lessons from the Bell Curve

James J. Heckman
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 103, No. 5 (Oct., 1995), pp. 1091-1120
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2138756
Page Count: 30
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Lessons from the Bell Curve
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Abstract

This paper examines the argument presented in The Bell Curve. A central argument is that one factor--g--accounts for correlation across test scores and performance in society. Another central argument is that g cannot be manipulated. These arguments are combined to claim that social policies designed to improve social performance cannot be effective. A reanalysis of the evidence contradicts this story. The factors that explain wages receive different weights than the factors that explain test scores. More than g is required to explain either. Other factors besides g contribute to social performance, and they can be manipulated.

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