Clever Countries: New research shows that
group intelligence - a Hive Mind - is
crucial to a nation's economic success
and is far more important than
Garett Jones, author of the paper,
National IQ and National Productivity: The Hive Mind Across Asia (pdf),
which has been published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), says a recent line of research demonstrates that cognitive
skills - - intelligence quotient scores, math skills, and the like - - have only a
modest influence on individual wages, but are strongly correlated with national
He asks if this is largely due to human capital spillovers? The paper argues
that the answer is yes. It presents four different channels through which
intelligence may matter more for nations than for individuals: (i) intelligence
is associated with patience and hence higher savings rates; (ii) intelligence
causes cooperation; (iii) higher group intelligence opens the door to using
fragile, high-value production technologies; and (iv) intelligence is associated
with supporting market-oriented policies.
The author says the abundant evidence from across ADB member countries
that environmental improvements can raise cognitive skills, is reviewed.
Gender and race studies can
be a minefield and in the early 1970s, London-based Professor Hans Jürgen
Eysenck, who had fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, in Race, Intelligence and
Education (in the US: The IQ Argument), linked genetics with IQ
differences and identified the Irish, blacks and Poles, as having lower
intelligence than other racial groups.
For its high
IQ readership, the London tabloid, The Daily Mirror, headlined a story on
Eysenck's work:'Irish not as
brainy as Brits says Prof'.
Garett Jones' paper provided four channels, rooted in economic theory,
through which intelligence could matter more for nations than for individuals.
These are: (i) capital channel, (ii) cooperation channel, (iii)
complementarity channel, and (iv) Caplan channel. The author says for each of these
channels, non-IQ factors may be important for explaining cross-country
differences in productivity and institutions; the paper never claims otherwise.
The paper claims that economists have almost entirely overlooked the evidence
that persistent differences in national cognitive skills are likely to have
impacts on the economy through these four channels.