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Lessons from the Bell Curve

James Heckman

Journal of Political Economy, 1995, vol. 103, issue 5, 1091-1120

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. Copyright 1995 by University of Chicago Press.

Date: 1995
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