Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The demographics of research achievement

This review of The Global Bell Curve: Race, IQ, and Inequality Worldwide explains something that had long perplexed me: why the University of Sao Paulo has an uncannily high quality and quantity of research output compared to typical Central and South American universities.

Lynn's new book provides fascinating historical vignettes to describe all the migrations and mixing of peoples. It also provides clear tables of data, which allow the reader to check the facts for themselves. For example, in Brazil, it is the Japanese who are the highest achieving population. They were brought in as indentured labourers to work the plantations after slavery was abolished in 1888. Yet, today, the Japanese outscore Whites on IQ tests, earn more, and are over-represented in university places. Although they are less than 1% of the total population they comprise 17% of the students at the elite University of Sao Paulo.

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