Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

What Drives Success?

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Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#1  Postby kennyc » Jan 27, 2014 5:00 pm

Interesting article and seems to match my thoughts....

What Drives Success?
By AMY CHUA and JED RUBENFELDJAN. 25, 2014

A SEEMINGLY un-American fact about America today is that for some groups, much more than others, upward mobility and the American dream are alive and well. It may be taboo to say it, but certain ethnic, religious and national-origin groups are doing strikingly better than Americans overall.

Indian-Americans earn almost double the national figure (roughly $90,000 per year in median household income versus $50,000). Iranian-, Lebanese- and Chinese-Americans are also top-earners. In the last 30 years, Mormons have become leaders of corporate America, holding top positions in many of America’s most recognizable companies. These facts don’t make some groups “better” than others, and material success cannot be equated with a well-lived life. But willful blindness to facts is never a good policy.

Jewish success is the most historically fraught and the most broad-based. Although Jews make up only about 2 percent of the United States’ adult population, they account for a third of the current Supreme Court; over two-thirds of Tony Award-winning lyricists and composers; and about a third of American Nobel laureates.

The most comforting explanation of these facts is that they are mere artifacts of class — rich parents passing on advantages to their children — or of immigrants arriving in this country with high skill and education levels. Important as these factors are, they explain only a small part of the picture.

Today’s wealthy Mormon businessmen often started from humble origins. Although India and China send the most immigrants to the United States through employment-based channels, almost half of all Indian immigrants and over half of Chinese immigrants do not enter the country under those criteria. Many are poor and poorly educated. Comprehensive data published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2013 showed that the children of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese immigrants experienced exceptional upward mobility regardless of their parents’ socioeconomic or educational background.

Take New York City’s selective public high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, which are major Ivy League feeders. For the 2013 school year, Stuyvesant High School offered admission, based solely on a standardized entrance exam, to nine black students, 24 Hispanics, 177 whites and 620 Asians. Among the Asians of Chinese origin, many are the children of restaurant workers and other working-class immigrants.

Merely stating the fact that certain groups do better than others — as measured by income, test scores and so on — is enough to provoke a firestorm in America today, and even charges of racism. The irony is that the facts actually debunk racial stereotypes.
.....


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/opini ... inion&_r=0
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#2  Postby RNeto » Jan 18, 2016 9:14 pm

For me it always seemed to have a kind of uniformity among groups (professional performance) outside home. Reasons for leaving the homecountry, environment back there and other significant aspects, may represent fundamental role on forging a series of characteristics that will provide similar performance outside.

Society has been changing since the below study has taken place, but it remains providing insights for these conversations:

The empirical analysis of the earnings of immigrants from 41 different
countries using the 1970 and 1980 Census shows that there are strong
country-specific fixed effects in the (labor market) quality of foreign-born
persons. In particular, persons from Western European countries do quite well
in the United States, and their cohorts have exhibited a general increase in
earnings (relative to their measured skills) over the postwar period. On the
other hand, persons from less developed countries do not perform well in the
U.S. labor market and their cohorts have exhibited a general decrease in
earnings (relative to their measured skills) over the postwar period.


http://www.nber.org/papers/w2248.pdf
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#3  Postby EmilOWK » Mar 24, 2016 9:31 am

The matter of who succeeds if mainly a matter of the mean cognitive ability of the groups. This is also reflected in country of origin effects because the mean levels of cognitive ability differ greatly between countries. Complicating it are matters of immigration and emigration selection, but the signal is still pretty clear.

See e.g.:
Country of origin effects in Denmark, Norway and Finland:
http://openpsych.net/ODP/2014/10/crime- ... d-finland/
In the US:
http://openpsych.net/ODP/2014/04/do-nat ... -freshman/
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#4  Postby laklak » Mar 24, 2016 4:57 pm

What drives success? Hard work, mostly. It's not a guarantee, of course, but I've never seen a successful person who didn't bust their ass to get there.
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#5  Postby I'm With Stupid » Mar 24, 2016 5:33 pm

I think a lot of it can come down to the support networks that certain ethnic groups have in place, and a lot of that comes down to culture. In Vietnam, and I assume a lot of other East Asian cultures, there's a massive amount of nepotism. If you have a business, you're expected to be able to find a job for your relatives. This is presumably extremely valuable in a marketplace where they are likely to face discrimination. Mormons are a religious version of this, with a massive in-group support mentality. I would suggest (but I'm not massively familiar with it) that a successful Mormon businessman would be expected to provide opportunities to others from that group.

With immigrants, you've also got to look at their social status in their home country. America isn't getting the Vietnamese people you see picking up trash in the streets, it's getting (even with scholarship students) rich Vietnamese. So while they might not be earning a massive amount when they first arrive in the country, and might be considered a low-income family, they are often backed up by a pretty hefty bank balance from someone back home. Which brings us to the other point: family pressure. Very few of my students who go to study abroad pick their own degree, and if they do, you can guarantee it's been approved by the parents first. They invest a lot in education, but they do so expecting a return, so they're very focused on choosing areas of study that will likely lead to well-paid jobs. I remember seeing Steven Pinker talking about this in relation to Jewish parents. He was trying to debunk the idea that Jews have historically put high value on education, arguing that "how are you going to get a job doing that?" was the typical attitude of Jewish parents, which is exactly the attitude to education that East Asian cultures that I'm aware of have. They do out a high value on education, but on a particular type of education, where the degree has a clear job attached (accounting, computer science, medicine, etc). It's actually a big problem here in Vietnam, because of the sheer number of people qualifying with these very job-specific degrees and the lack of transferable skills that you get in more abstract degrees.

But ultimately what you have is a culture where parents will make massive sacrifices to ensure their child gets a good education, and will put massive expectations of them that they will work hard and achieve. I used to work in a school where students were typically paying about $200 a month for English lessons, and many families had multiple kids. But what was interesting is that if you were ever doing a lesson about travel, the number who'd been abroad was typically zero, and the number who'd been on a plane was often just a handful. Very few of them had a car in the family. What you had was people who weren't particularly well off (although still above average for Vietnam) who just put everything into their kids' education. And that, I suspect, accounts for the success of the less well off Asian immigrants.

The other thing with immigrants in general, is that just through a process of elimination, you're going to end up with the hard-working ones. People were amazed at how hard-working Polish tradesmen were when they first came to the UK. Of course they were. The lazy ones wouldn't be arsed to go halfway across a continent in search of work. Trust me, there are plenty of lazy bastards in Vietnam, they're just not the ones that are going to bust their gut to get to America.

In the UK, there was a study of children on free school meals. They found that every ethnic group with the exception of gypsies performed better than white people. You might find that will even out the more generations the ethnic minorities have been in the country.
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#6  Postby Hobbes Choice » Mar 24, 2016 6:51 pm

laklak wrote:What drives success? Hard work, mostly. It's not a guarantee, of course, but I've never seen a successful person who didn't bust their ass to get there.


George Bush; Donald Trump.
... the Queen, and most of the Tory cabinet.

They all had it on a plate from the start
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#7  Postby Hobbes Choice » Mar 24, 2016 6:53 pm

Immigrant success is mostly attributable to selection.
To become a legal immigrant you have to fulfil economic and educational criteria.
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Re: Ethnicity and success in the U.S.

#8  Postby tuco » Mar 24, 2016 7:49 pm

EmilOWK wrote:The matter of who succeeds if mainly a matter of the mean cognitive ability of the groups. This is also reflected in country of origin effects because the mean levels of cognitive ability differ greatly between countries. Complicating it are matters of immigration and emigration selection, but the signal is still pretty clear.

See e.g.:
Country of origin effects in Denmark, Norway and Finland:
http://openpsych.net/ODP/2014/10/crime- ... d-finland/
In the US:
http://openpsych.net/ODP/2014/04/do-nat ... -freshman/


Would you care to elaborate more, especially on "spatial transferability hypothesis" which the data presented are said support?

Also I take it that "cognitive abilities" are demonstrated as IQ? Is there assumption that IQ is genetic/hereditary?

Just trying to make sense of it as in: what does it mean? Thanks in advance.
---
Recent studies show that criminality and other socioeconomic traits such as educational attainment
among immigrant groups is predictable from their country of origin[1, 2, 3, 4]. This study attempts
to replicate and generalize these findings.


Side note: where 1,2,3 are from the same author
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