June 25, 2012

Amy Wax: "The iron law of personnel selection"

Amy L. Wax, a tenured professor at the U. of Pennsylvania Law School, writes in The Dead End of 'Disparate Impact' in National Affairs:
Contrary to the Supreme Court's assumption in Griggs, the comparative power of IQ extends even to relatively uncomplicated positions requiring modest skills, such as clerical or retail work. What this means is that hiring on the basis of intelligence — as opposed to other, non-cognitive personal attributes or talents — will almost always produce better-performing workers. 
As for alternatives to written tests, it is revealing that no relevant research findings were adduced (either by New Haven or in the amici briefs for the city's case) to support the assertion in Ricci that alternative job screens can achieve better results while promoting diversity. Although studies show that written tests of job knowledge are robust predictors of performance in public-safety jobs like policing and firefighting, "assessment center" procedures like those touted in the Ricci briefs rarely achieve comparable validity. And even when such procedures reduce adverse impact, the effects are usually too modest to satisfy legal standards. All told, there is essentially no credible evidence that "better" selection methods — ones that are equally or more valid but have less adverse impact — exist or can be readily devised. 
This is not for lack of trying. An entire cottage industry is now devoted to refining personnel selection with the goal of increasing work-force diversity without compromising an employer's search for the most able employees. This quest has spawned a voluminous literature; the basic approach in nearly every case is to de-emphasize the academic and analytic measures on which minorities lag behind in favor of other abilities that yield smaller or non-existent racial differences. 
This work has produced uniformly disappointing results. Except in highly specialized circumstances or in staffing for the least competitive jobs, adopting alternative screening methods that minimize the significance of abilities related to intelligence almost always results in the selection of less capable workers. The reason is simple: The paucity of non-Asian minorities in competitive positions reflects real differences in human capital and skill. Thus changing entry requirements to create a more diverse work force, including scrapping existing civil-service exams, will generally not result in a more qualified work force. For now, the diversity-validity tradeoff remains the iron law of personnel selection. 
The bottom line, therefore, is that most employers who engage in genuinely meritocratic skill-based hiring using a broad range of valid personnel practices will fail to meet the disparate-impact doctrine's threshold diversity targets. Indeed, as IOP experts Paul Sackett and Jill Ellingson have observed, most employers have no hope of even coming close to satisfying the Griggs four-fifths requirement. Group performance differences, or d values, commonly viewed as small — for example, 0.2, which is far lower than the one standard deviation black-white difference in pure tests of cognitive ability — can produce violations of the four-fifths rule in even modestly competitive hiring situations. This means that businesses that strive to hire the best workers will routinely violate the four-fifths proportionality rule for minority hires and thus expose themselves to potential disparate-impact challenges.

The disparate impact racket is four decades old now, but what percentage of the intelligentsia even knows it exists (as opposed to affirmative action in college admissions, which is vastly more discussed but probably far less important)? Five percent? And what percentage understand it?

Maybe it helps to be as smart as Amy Wax to grasp it. Here's her bio:
A native of Troy, New York, Amy Laura Wax received a B.S. summa cum laude in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale in 1975. She was then a Marshall Scholar in Philosophy, Physiology, and Psychology at Somerville College at Oxford University. She earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1981, training as a neurologist, and received a J.D. from Columbia in 1987, where she was an editor of the Law Review. She was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Abner J. Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit from 1987-88. From 1988-94, she served as Assistant to the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, where she argued 15 cases before the United States Supreme Court. Wax was a member of the Legal Affairs Committee, American Academy of Neurology from 1986-1992. In 1994, she joined the faculty of UVA. She taught courses in civil procedure, labor law, and poverty law and welfare policy. She became Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law from 2000-01. After becoming a visiting professor to Penn Law School in 2000, she joined its faculty in 2001.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The disparate impact racket is four decades old now, but what percentage of the intelligentsia even knows it exists (as opposed to affirmative action in college admissions, which is vastly more discussed but probably far less important)? Five percent? And what percentage understand it?"

I never heard of disparate impact until I read Sailer on VDARE. Why? The media never discussed it. And who controls the media? Maybe in order for there to be more truth in the media, we need more disparate impact policy based on ideology and ethnicity there: More conservatives and fewer Jews who are disproportionately represented in the media.
Otherwise, people just rely on the media. Also, morally defensive conservatives are so eager to win over blacks and Hispanics that they don't even tough stuff like affirmative action, let alone disparate action.

Anonymous said...

"The paucity of non-Asian minorities..."

Doesn't that imply that she follows the HBD-sphere? The average person would have written "blacks and Hispanics" instead. One could come up with many other terms for the same thing. I think "NAMs" is an HBD-sphere-specific term.

beowulf said...

Really, it seems like a lot of wasted effort. Might as well acknowledge the twin constraints of science and politics and just combine testing with quotas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6/25/12 8:29 PM

Amy Wax, whose article eruditely criticizing disparate impact Mr. Sailer cited, is Jewish. Your comment is just more proof that WN's don't really want an end to quotas, set-asides, or pernicious doctrines like disparate impact. You want those things on steroids, but only if they are set up to favor your group.

Anonymous said...

Please answer this; Are Cunning people Intelligent?

Anonymous said...

Don't overstate the harm of these employment laws however. The eeoc and doj civ rights division have tiny budgets and can bring few cases a year. These types of cases require old style mass employers like fire departments. They are basically never enforced against small or medium businesses.

Private enforcement of hiring regulations is possible in theory but never happens. You see personal injury, med mal, and asbestos lawyer advertising on tv and billboards all the time. You'll never see race and employment lawyers advertise this way because they are nearly impossible to win before a jury.

Anonymous said...

I think that this has been mentioned on iSteve before, but according to her Penn Law bio page, prof. Wax has a BS from Yale, an MD from Harvard Medical School and a JD from Columbia. She's been a neurologist and an Assistant to the Solicitor General.

Psychometrics, the Jensen/Lynn/Murray stuff, has natural appeal to the super-intelligent. And it can be an entry drug. Once you've accepted that, there are obvious corollaries.

There's hope.

Black Sea said...

Her argument is such that it makes a good case for -- among other things -- protections of academic freedom. This is the sort of analysis that costs people their jobs, and maybe more than just their jobs, if it gets noticed in the wrong places.

Anonymous said...

"I never heard of disparate impact until I read Sailer on VDARE."

Same here.

Anonymous said...

"I never heard of disparate impact until I read Sailer on VDARE."

Same here.


Okay, so on one of those graphs, how often does disparate impact appear in print?

DaveinHackensack said...

"Your comment is just more proof that WN's don't really want an end to quotas, set-asides, or pernicious doctrines like disparate impact. You want those things on steroids, but only if they are set up to favor your group."

"Who? Whom?"

"These types of cases require old style mass employers like fire departments. They are basically never enforced against small or medium businesses."

How often are they enforced against large businesses? Is Google in compliance with the four fifths doctrine?

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of dark-skinned individuals in Silicon Valley. Some of them could be called ebony skinned.

Of course, they are from India.

Seems there is no discrimination against skin color. It also seems that African-Americans are just not smart enough for those positions.

Anonymous said...

Troy is known as the Collar City due to its history in shirt, collar, and other textile production. At one point Troy was also the second largest producer of iron in the country, surpassed only by the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

this may be one reason why she lacks sympathy for AA--because she was part of that middle swath at yale which relies on talent and hard work rather than nepotism or quotas.

Whiskey said...

One might ask why Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and IBM get a pass from the DOJ and EEOC for not hiring lots of Blacks and Hispanics.

Then you see they are the "cool kids" like Facebook, Groupon, LinkedIn, Foursquare, which have not hired any either.

AFAIK, Google still uses an IQ test for hiring. But they get away with it. Because we have no laws. Only connected men and women.

Bureaucratologist said...

"Don't overstate the harm of these employment laws however. The eeoc and doj civ rights division have tiny budgets and can bring few cases a year. These types of cases require old style mass employers like fire departments. They are basically never enforced against small or medium businesses."

Need more answers:

How many suits are brought by non-government actors? How many suits are settled before going to court? How much lawsuit-proofing has already taken place in businesses of various sizes?

Norville Rogers said...

It's a damned decent c.v., if a bit eccentric; she's like something out of Herb Spencer's X Club

Norville Rogers said...

WN's don't really want an end to quotas, set-asides, or pernicious doctrines like disparate impact. You want those things on steroids, but only if they are set up to favor your group

Well duh.

Optimal policy = whichever one has the right folks in charge

DaveinHackensack said...

Maybe conservatives should stop trying to contest liberal policies directly and instead work to make liberal constituencies feel the bite of them. So, for example, a GOP administration could:

- Unleash the EEOC on Silicon Valley.
- Propose an "American Dreamer" surtax to pay for the federal social services the newly-amnestied dreamers will consume.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, that is only because the "IQ test" they administer is soliciting relatively specialized samples of, you know, the same crap you'd be doing all week if they hired you. I realize after seeing the author photo you will discount it immediately

Anonymous said...

"Maybe conservatives should stop trying to contest liberal policies directly and instead work to make liberal constituencies feel the bite of them."

Sounds good, but impossible, of course. Both parties are funded by the kinds of people of Silicon Valley.

Anonymous said...

I really think the only answer is civil disobediance. Worked in the Sixites.

EEOC Opportunities said...

In Bill Gates's totally disinterested view it's a major tragedy that 100% of LAUSD students aren't able to knock out this one on their snack break. Because we really need an entire nation of people skilled in organizing ever-larger databases of cat videos, in order to furnish the growth for employing several hundred million gardeners, cooks, store clerks, and maids desiring to join in.

Anonymous said...

Google etc "get away" with it because, again, these laws just are not that tough in practice. The high profile cases are really the only big cases. Private lawyers have no incentive to bring them. Judges dismiss most of them before trial, and these would be federal trials needing unanimous verdicts.

Anonymous said...

Any Canadians know how the situation is there? The multiculti laws are much more harsh.

Anonymous said...

You dont' see a lot of disparate cases in the news. Most of the ones that hit the news seem to involve public sector work forces like police or fire departments.

Some of the posters have suggested that they are not legal winners so these type of cases are not agressively pursued by private attorneys and the DOJ has a small budget. Maybe true, but the existence of the law probaby has some fear effect that causes companies to want to at least appear to conform even if they are aware that they are unlikley to be harmed by the law.

Note the fact that Wax is a woman, Jewish, and very highy credentialed....these factors give her more lattitude to make controversial (albeit perhaps true) remarks not unlike Thomas Sowell the Black economist.


Not sure wht you meant by lose your job "or worse" comment.

As far as I can tell no one is going to prison for these views even if they are usually career poison.

Simon in London said...

" The paucity of non-Asian minorities in competitive positions reflects real differences in human capital and skill"

Good thing she has tenure.

Simon in London said...

anon:
"The eeoc and doj civ rights division have tiny budgets and can bring few cases a year. These types of cases require old style mass employers like fire departments. They are basically never enforced against small or medium businesses. "

I was wondering about that. It had seemed to me that if these laws preventing hiring by ability were actually enforced vs private employers, surely the US economy would be crippled very rapidly.

Henry Canaday said...

My anecdotal impression from attending a half dozen business conferences annually for the past 15 years is that middle managers and professionals in private sector, non-academic organizations are still about 95 percent white or Asian. This would mean that all this disparate-impact agony is not actually changing the demographics of employment at these levels much. So the main impact is to increase the cost of hiring, resulting in fewer hires, more contractors perhaps, more unemployment, smaller GDP, more dependency on government welfare, etc.

Was the cost of disparate impact and other diversity measures included in that recent study by the Small Business Administration on the costs that regulation impose on the economy?

Anonymous said...

I scanned the comments--too many to read them all--and didn't get a hit for "tenured." It is all wrapped up in that word. If Amy didn't have tenure, she wouldn't have written this. If she had written this, she wouldn't have gotten tenure. (Okay, maybe you can substitute "most likely wouldn't" for "wouldn't" in my formulation...) So, in any case, we are better off for her having written it. [!]

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:02, that's utter bunk. They have plenty of time and money to make people miserable.

The EEOC is currently pursuing a discrimination case against a small chain of coffee shops south of Boston. A local woman has grown her company, Marylou's, from one shop in 1986 to 29 currently. Her crime: employing young, pretty white girls wearing little pink tops and white shorts to make and serve the coffee as opposed to older or minority workers.

The kicker is that NO ONE EVER COMPLAINED! The EEOC made the company supply hiring interview records so they could track interviewees down and scrape up some complaints. The EEOC admitted that they started the process after saw a company commercial featuring all the perky white girls and decided there was a problem!

Big Bill said...

One reason there are few lawsuits for top tech or legal jobs is because the pool of qualified applicants (POQA) is so small. The number of college degreed black coders and lawyers is minuscule. The POQA for the police or firemen is potentially the entire GED-passing population of the country.

One does not look at the racial percentages in the general population for a DI analysis, you look at the percentages in the POQA. Hence there are no disparate impact lawsuits for math or physics professors because the POQA requires a math or physics PhD and there are a microscopic number of non-Education, non-Black Studies black PhDs.

Another reason is the complete lack of black comprehension and total indifference about entire classes of white folks' work. Most blacks are pretty practical. They don't get their knickers in a knot about jobs they cannot even imagine doing, don't understand, and would be bored stiff if you tried to explain it to them. But driving around in a fast car with a gun and a badge, getting in shoot outs with bad guys, spraying water on big fires, and rescuing beautiful women from an inferno, now THAT they can understand!

Caonima said...

Gee, why would a very bright Jewish lady want a more IQ-based society? Actually, if she really was one of the poor kids made good at Yale, she might easily resent her coreligionists who made it off family connections.

The 'non-Asian-minorities' thing is kind of a giveaway, I agree. She reads iSteve or something like it.

Anonymous said...

Just a data point. I've worked as an on-site consultant at both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley: lots of Asians, lots of foreigners (both Asian and white), lots of Jews (goes without saying!), very, very, very few blacks or Hispanics. Probably not even one percent. But they sure do talk a good game when it comes to diversity!

peterike said...

The eeoc and doj civ rights division have tiny budgets and can bring few cases a year.

Tiny?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the leading federal law enforcement agency dedicated to eradicating employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, pregnancy, age, disability, and family medical history or genetic information. The EEOC is requesting a budget of $373,711,000 which includes $29,500,000 for State and Local programs for fiscal year 2013. This request represents a combined increase of $13.711 million from the fiscal year 2012 appropriation.

In FY 2012, the Civil Rights Division (CRT) requests a total of $161,755,000, 814 positions and 816 direct FTE, to enforce the country’s civil rights laws in a fair and uniform manner.

So that's over half a billion dollars. Granted, in the world of government finance that's "tiny," but in the real world, half a billion dollars a year buys you an awful lot of meddlesome lawyers and bureaucrats.

How many? In 2011 the EEOC brought 99,947 charges of discrimination. Just shy of 100,000 cases. Surely that is not all the Fortune 100. And this is every year, 90,000+ cases of pointless meddling.

The EEOC also engages in "outreach." Which is translated as: "letting dark skinned people understand how they can game the system."

I really don't have the stomach to read more of this, but those interested can find a great deal here:

http://www1.eeoc.gov//eeoc/plan/2013budget.cfm?renderforprint=1

Black Death said...

I did some investigating into Amy wax and read some of the things she has written. I came away pretty impressed. Look at this:

The past 30 years have witnessed a dramatic divergence in family structure by social class, income, education, and race. This article reviews the data on these trends, explores their significance, and assesses social scientists' recent attempts to explain them. The article concludes that society-wide changes in economic conditions or social expectations cannot account for these patterns. Rather, for reasons that are poorly understood, cultural disparities have emerged by class and race in attitudes and behaviors surrounding family, sexuality, and reproduction. These disparities will likely fuel social and economic inequality and contribute to disparities in children's life prospects for decades to come.

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1116691

....

I couldn't find that Ms. Wax has made any political contributions, but she does seem to be a breath of fresh air in the intellectually oppressive world of academic PC groupthink. Good thing she's tenured. I wonder if she's a Republican, even of the closet variety? She might be a good Supreme Court appointment for Romney, if he gets in.

FredR said...

I enjoyed listening to Amy Wax yell at Adam Serwer on bloggingheads here: http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/2745

Anonymous said...

"I never heard of disparate impact until I read Sailer on VDARE."

You've heard the idea behind the term "disparate impact" used all the time just not the term itself e.g. black people stopped by the police, black people in prison etc.

You've heard it a million times.

Anonymous said...

My response to people who say that big technology companies aren't biting the bullet on AA would be that because DOJ and EEOC probably stupidly consider Asians a repressed minority like blacks and Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas, these companies can say " We have lots of minorities on staff " asterisk***** i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Indians, Koreans and that gives them a free pass. The lack of analytical ability that AA engenders in the innumerate is actually an advantage for the economy here. Then consider where these companies are located: San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Austin, Boulder. Not exactly Detroit or Baltimore in terms of demographic composition.

Anonymous said...

Intellegence is important even for janitorial and dishwashing jobs. Low IQ people simply make more mistakes at work, or work less efficiently, and thus cost the worksite money.

Low IQ workers also have more difficulty running their lives, and hence are more likely to be late to work or unable to come to work or have court dates, or on drugs etc. Frustration with their dismal lives or inability to reason or read people causes interpersonal problems at work.

You can save $2/hr in salary by hiring a stupid person, but it can cost your business tens of thousands of Dollars, plus all the extra work and stress for management.

Never, never hire stupid people to work for you. The proper workplace for stupid people is Federal and state employment.

Sheila said...

Anoymous at 8:59 PM - obviously, Ms. Wax is Jewish. Obviously, Whites would prefer the system they created to work for their benefit. The "ethnocentrism for me but not for thee" line is terribly shopworn. Ultimately, it's all who-whom. The fact that you are the who and dislike the WN whom is irrelevant.

Anonymous at 2:31 AM "No one is going to prison" for these views - FALSE. In England, a woman was just sentenced to prison for a pro-White/anti-immigrant rant. Another woman (with numerous other dysfunctions - i.e. hardly a poster child) is faced with having her soon-to-be-born child taken from her by social services, because her BNP membership indicates she is unfit to raise a child suited to modern, multicultural Britain. You really think that's not coming here, and soon? Sardonic snort.

Anonymous said...

"Okay, so on one of those graphs, how often does disparate impact appear in print?"

You mean this?

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=disparate+impact&year_start=1800&year_end=2012&corpus=0&smoothing=0

Anonymous said...

How intelligent does a person have to be to understand that hiring a dumb person just because his skin is a certain color makes for a dysfunctional workplace? Most reasonably intelligent people doing entry-level jobs understand this, and talk about it to one another. Where is the mystery? Certainly intelligent and credentialed people see this when they are in public places or purchase services?

The problem from my experience is that HR and management types seem to actually believe that brains make no difference below a certain job level. That's obviously not true. Too often they pat themselves on the back for hiring unqualified minorities, and are surprised to find their new hires fighting or sleeping on the job, or truly unable to do the work. Just like politicians who do not live with the problems they create, many managers and HR types will never care or understand the harm they are doing until they are forced to work on a daily basis with stupid, angry or unemployable people, and to see those people rise with no merit, and little intention of doing much for the money they are given. Hopefully, with the election of Obama, our betters can see a little of the problem that they have created for others.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

Disparate impact, AA, is all like randomly pulling rivets out of a plane.

It is extraordinarily unlikely that the first rivet you remove from an airplane will cause it to crash.

But keep removing them, and it is a dead certainty it will crash or become not airworthy.

Old Fogey said...

I was so hoping to see that she just happened to be black. Damn!

Luke Lea said...

The truth will out -- I hope. With advocates like that maybe it will. Bravo Amy Wax!

acilius said...

"Private enforcement of hiring regulations is possible in theory but never happens. You see personal injury, med mal, and asbestos lawyer advertising on tv and billboards all the time. You'll never see race and employment lawyers advertise this way because they are nearly impossible to win before a jury."

I know some employment lawyers who represent plaintiffs in discrimination suits. They rarely appear in court, not because they don't have clients, but because both the defendants and their clients are eager for a quick settlement. No business wants a reputation for unfairness and few workers want a reputation for bringing suit against employers, it's rare for either party to hold out so long that the case goes to court and is mentioned in the newspapers. Nobody gets rich in that kind of operation. It's a nuisance for the employers, a steady living for the lawyers, and usually a bust for the plaintiffs, who end up with a few bucks and an opportunity to go back to work at for people they just spent months suing.

Anonymous said...

How intelligent does a person have to be to understand that hiring a dumb person just because his skin is a certain color makes for a dysfunctional workplace? Most reasonably intelligent people doing entry-level jobs understand this, and talk about it to one another. Where is the mystery? Certainly intelligent and credentialed people see this when they are in public places or purchase services?

The problem from my experience is that HR and management types seem to actually believe that brains make no difference below a certain job level. That's obviously not true. Too often they pat themselves on the back for hiring unqualified minorities, and are surprised to find their new hires fighting or sleeping on the job, or truly unable to do the work. Just like politicians who do not live with the problems they create, many managers and HR types will never care or understand the harm they are doing until they are forced to work on a daily basis with stupid, angry or unemployable people, and to see those people rise with no merit, and little intention of doing much for the money they are given. Hopefully, with the election of Obama, our betters can see a little of the problem that they have created for others.

Aaron in Israel said...

Amy Wax is proof that you can be a race realist and get a respectful hearing and even some favorable publicity. ("Race realist" is appropriate even though she doesn't believe in a hereditarian model for between-race variation in personality.) Check out the positive mainstream critical reception her book got. And no, it's not because she's Jewish. Heather Mac Donald says a lot of the same race-realist things in mainstream media. I think it's mostly a matter of tone, a matter of talking with your interlocutors instead of at them. It's also a matter of not being too extreme: Jared Taylor is one of the politest and most respectful people around, but he's still banned.

Check out Wax's bloggingheads debates to see how it's done. (Try to get over the eyebrows and listen to what she's saying.) One of the debates is with a dumb guy, Adam Serwer, and one's with a smart guy, Glen Loury, but she comes out really well in both.

helene edwards said...

Can someone tell me why she'd leave UVA for Penn?

jody said...

"One might ask why Google, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, and IBM get a pass from the DOJ and EEOC for not hiring lots of Blacks and Hispanics."

as i've said before, let's go one step further. why is no large LAW FIRM ever sued for not having enough of the right people? they should be getting sued left and right. they certainly don't "look like" america.

selective enforcement of the law is the rule today, as obama has shown. not the exception.

by the way, the justice department can't go after your business until you have over 500 employees. that's federal statute. plenty of companies can get away with hiring mostly only "their own" as long as they stay under a certain size. as you might guess, the justice department does not rigorously enforce these laws. they go after targets that match their agenda. that's how a lot of these companies aren't getting federal suits against them. they can go over 500 employees and "not look like america" as long as they're not TOO big and TOO far over the line and the attorney general has other things he'd rather do.

this does not preclude private lawsuits brought to bear against them by individual citizens, of course.

Bureaucratologist said...

Where'd we get the idea the EEOC has a small budget? It had a $360 million budget in FY 2012.

The DOJ civil rights division has about $150 million budget.

Camlost said...

I've worked in HR. Any laws like this can only be enforced in relation to your local demographics.

In other words, you're not expected to have 12% black middle managers or software engineers in Madison, WI when the local populace is only 3% black.

The way that disparate impact really impacts is with large corporations such as IBM, who can afford to do "minority reachout" programs where they go to the HBCU's and special-hire a few promising blacks. Also, IBM will throw big dollars into recruiting events with Hispanic or Black student organizations (like NSBE, the society for black engineers)

This type of "outreach" is usually enough to keep the Sharpton/Jackson wolves and lawsuits at bay.

John Derbyshire said...

Previous sighting of Amy Wax. -- J.D.

Daybreaker said...

Losing your job, plus lasting social ostracism, plus the discrediting of whatever other ideas you care about and promote, plus great difficulty in acquiring any comparable job in future, is an "or worse" compared to just losing your job.

Polymath said...

The obvious solution is race-norming -- since that pesky bias is so hard to eliminate from tests, no matter how much well-meaning effort goes into making the tests "unbiased", just adjust for it and take the top scoring people from each group in appropriate proportions. At least you'll get the best possible workforce consistent with satisfying disparate impact criteria. Conservatives like me used to oppose this as obviously unfair, but now I realize that it's fairer than anything else that satisfies the race-enforcers, and it can be defended intellectually even to liberals who are clueless about HBD, by accepting their premise that the tests are "biased" and saying that experience has shown it is much easier to cancel the bias by renorming than eliminating it.

map said...

"Don't overstate the harm of these employment laws however. The eeoc and doj civ rights division have tiny budgets and can bring few cases a year. These types of cases require old style mass employers like fire departments. They are basically never enforced against small or medium businesses."

This does not matter. Companies still have to act under the color of the law. Who wants to take the chance that they will draw the short straw.

Paul Mendez said...

It seems to me that since capable women and NAMs are discriminated against in the labor market, my company would have a competitive advantage if I only hired women and NAMs. My salaries and turnover would be less than my evil male-chauvinist-white-supremicist competitors.

FredR said...

Amy Wax on our racial justice programs:

"After a point it's not about achieving equality for Blacks, it's about feeding the vanity of whites."

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of dark-skinned individuals in Silicon Valley. Some of them could be called ebony skinned.

Of course, they are from India.

Seems there is no discrimination against skin color.


There's plenty of discrimination against skin color. It's just that it's discrimination against white skin color. You think SV likes those Indians because it just can't find smart white people?

Karol said...

You know those TED talks with Hans Rosling.. showing the economies of countries over time..? I'd like to see something like that for IQ.

Olave d'Estienne said...

I [heart] Amy Wax.

Prof. Woland said...

The real cost is not in hiring per se but in firing. Firing a minority, female, or older employee carries enormous fiancial risk, especially if you are a white male. It will always fetch a higher settlement than say a white man suing a black woman.

Clearly, the trends in business will be for companies to stay as small as possible. The threshold for mandatory ObamaCare will kick in (assuming it survives the SCOTUS) at 50 employees and escalates above 200. The FMLA is at 50. Medicare as primary and COBRA are 20 ees. Why not just farm out as much employment as possible to sub-contractors and stay out of court?

Anonymous said...

Losing your job, plus lasting social ostracism, plus the discrediting of whatever other ideas you care about and promote, plus great difficulty in acquiring any comparable job in future, is an "or worse" compared to just losing your job.

Blacklisting has not died with McCarthy.

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters, but I know someone who had Amy Wax at UPenn law school and said she was an excellent teacher, notwithstanding that this person disagreed with Wax's politics across the board.

The most interesting thing to me about the National Affairs article is how careful Wax is to avoid suggesting that group differences in intelligence are genetic. I guess if she allowed that idea to peek through, she wouldn't have a chance of getting published at all.

- A Solid Citizen

Anonymous said...

Your comment is just more proof that WN's don't really want an end to quotas, set-asides, or pernicious doctrines like disparate impact.

What's wrong with quotas?

Anonymous said...

Your comment is just more proof that WN's don't really want an end to quotas, set-asides, or pernicious doctrines like disparate impact.

What's pernicious about disparate impact?

Anonymous said...

Seems there is no discrimination against skin color. It also seems that African-Americans are just not smart enough for those positions.

It probably doesn't mean African-Americans are not smart enough for those position. (And it certainly doesn't mean that ALL African-Americans are not smart enough for those positions.)

What we can infer is that African Americans are not "competitive" (which may mean many things) with Indians for those kinds of jobs. One more piece of evidence that mass migration into the United States is crushing the American worker.

Anonymous said...

Maybe conservatives should stop trying to contest liberal policies directly and instead work to make liberal constituencies feel the bite of them. So, for example, a GOP administration could:

- Unleash the EEOC on Silicon Valley.
- Propose an "American Dreamer" surtax to pay for the federal social services the newly-amnestied dreamers will consume.


Plus: Quotas and disparate impact for European-derived men and women. (If the ancestral homeland of Jews is Palestine, then Jews are classified as Asian.)

Anonymous said...

Because we really need an entire nation of people skilled in organizing ever-larger databases of cat videos, in order to furnish the growth for employing several hundred million gardeners, cooks, store clerks, and maids desiring to join in.

Yep, and those several million will be imported from overseas, to the detriment of blacks and other working class Americans.

Anonymous said...

I've worked as an on-site consultant at both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley: lots of Asians, lots of foreigners (both Asian and white), lots of Jews (goes without saying!), very, very, very few blacks or Hispanics.

And very few homegrown White Americans. These people are taking our (Whites and Blacks) jobs, getting bailed out by our federal government, and receiving bonuses that put them in the top 1% of all wage earners. Out!

Anonymous said...

Amy Wax on our racial justice programs:

"After a point it's not about achieving equality for Blacks, it's about feeding the vanity of whites."


No, it's about buying off the top blacks (and giving the impression of black representation to other blacks) to lessen the apparent costs to them of mass migration into the United States. That helps prevent blacks from joining with white Americans in fighting against our displacement (which is being engineered by elites like Wax).

ben tillman said...

One type of disparate impact that's never talked about is the fact that companies require American job applicants to have degrees and (often) references, while Indians are only required to say that they have degrees and pretend they have business references.

American employers can't verify these things, or prior employment, the way they can verify the info provided by Americans.

Anonymous said...

Amy Wax is proof that you can be a race realist and get a respectful hearing and even some favorable publicity. ("Race realist" is appropriate even though she doesn't believe in a hereditarian model for between-race variation in personality.)

Sure she believes in a hereditarian model. She just hasn't copped to it publicly.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

I'm cautiously optimistic that disparate impact theory will get more attention as people start looking more carefully at the college bubble.

Chris Anderson said...

One reason you don't see a lot of high profile lawsuits or trial lawyers trawling for clients is right there in the excerpt: private employers don't test for intelligence. While that removes an obvious hook for a lawsuit, it's to their detriment.

And also to the detriment of any bright person who wants a good job. Instead of being able to test into a training program at say, 3M or Proctor & Gamble, a young person instead has to spend 4 years and an increasing amount of money on a college degree (sometimes an MBA or other advanced degree). All so that the company can have a defensible proxy for the test result.

sunbeam said...

Anonymous said:

I've worked as an on-site consultant at both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley: lots of Asians, lots of foreigners (both Asian and white), lots of Jews (goes without saying!), very, very, very few blacks or Hispanics.


"And very few homegrown White Americans. These people are taking our (Whites and Blacks) jobs, getting bailed out by our federal government, and receiving bonuses that put them in the top 1% of all wage earners. Out!"

I think one of the big reasons you don't see more native born whites in these positions is that they aren't in the pipeline.

Obviously there are such things as family contacts, but your main path in is via the school you attend.

It's a similar situation in Silicon Valley though it obviously must differ a lot from Wall Street.

But in the case of Silicon Valley I think most of the foreign workers there can be traced back to one of two sources:

1) A former student at one of the Universities in the Bay Area, or at a school Silicon Valley enterprises actively recruit: MIT (duh), Michigan, some others. It's not a terribly long list though.

2) Someone brought in by a foreign born employee of one of these concerns.

(I'd also bet that analogous to "Patient Zero" in the AIDS epidemic, you can probably trace this back to a small group of foreign employees who went to a Bay Area school and went to work at Intel/HP/Motorola/etc after college. With the way they used to jump from job to job there (and probably still do), one guy could have started a line of foreign employees at multiple companies)

Basically if you are in fly-over country you aren't in the pipeline.

All is not lost however. Your best chance is to somehow have a contact who is employed at a company like that. Graduates of the University of Alabama are not totally unknown in the Bay Area, but they are a lot rarer than Stanford or Berkeley grads.

You might also just up and make the move. Work at some shit job and apply, apply, apply. It might work, but the stink of Applebees or wherever you work at to make it until a real company picks you up might forever preclude you from being hired.

Of course at different times in the past, things have boomed so much that anyone with a pulse and a plausible background could get hired out there.

Personally I kind of think it might never happen again, but that is just my take.

One other way that pops into mind is to get on with a branch of the company in another part of the country. It's usually possible after a while to transfer to where the action is if you work it. Go to work for HP in Atlanta or something.

Just saying (as if it needed saying again) that the school you attend is of the utmost importance in where your life takes you.

It also helps to grow up in an area where they have real economic activity.

Or be a really hot chick. Honestly they don't need employment acts or legislation. Everything seems to turn out just fine for them.

Anonymous said...


No, it's about buying off the top blacks (and giving the impression of black representation to other blacks) to lessen the apparent costs to them of mass migration into the United States. That helps prevent blacks from joining with white Americans in fighting against our displacement (which is being engineered by elites like Wax).


What silliness. Blacks benefit from immigration because Latinos vote Democrat, and Democrats give more goodies to blacks.

AA is about buying off the smartest blacks so they don't become the leaders of riot gangs.

Anonymous said...

Amy Wax took an axe
and gave disparate impact 40 whacks.

When she saw what she had done
she gave hate crimes 41.

Anonymous said...

What silliness. Blacks benefit from immigration because Latinos vote Democrat, and Democrats give more goodies to blacks.

So blacks "welcome" immigration from Latin America? From Korea?

Yeah, I'm sure blacks in America observe Mexican infiltrators who are competing with them for jobs and who aren't particularly fraternal or communicative with blacks and blacks run through the calculus you hilariously posit here: yeah, those Mexicans are going to vote Democrat and that means more social programs for me. (Nevermind that most Mexicans don't vote.)

Anonymous said...

"And very few homegrown White Americans. These people are taking our (Whites and Blacks) jobs, getting bailed out by our federal government, and receiving bonuses that put them in the top 1% of all wage earners. Out!"

I think one of the big reasons you don't see more native born whites in these positions is that they aren't in the pipeline.

Obviously there are such things as family contacts, but your main path in is via the school you attend.


It still points up the huge cost of mass migration into the United States. Whether they take our jobs immediately or first take our places at our universities before taking our jobs doesn't matter so much.

Anonymous said...

And very few homegrown White Americans. These people are taking our (Whites and Blacks) jobs, getting bailed out by our federal government, and receiving bonuses that put them in the top 1% of all wage earners. Out!

I wonder how much of the financial crisis can be attributed to the national makeup of the big New York and London financial institutions. Most of the analysts, associates, traders, and higher ups are foreign-linked. Do such people tend to approach the United States more as a place to make a quick, or to exploit, than rooted Americans do, because they have a kind of hedge with a foreign country?

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION

Most of the analysts, associates, traders, and higher ups are foreign-linked. Do such people tend to approach the United States more as a place to make a quick buck, to exploit?

Anonymous said...

What silliness. Blacks benefit from immigration because Latinos vote Democrat, and Democrats give more goodies to blacks.

AA is about buying off the smartest blacks so they don't become the leaders of riot gangs.


Why would they become leaders of riot gangs against the Democratic governments you allege are so generous to them?

Clutch cargo cult said...

Every large corporation has a "diversity" program. At this point there is not even a single thought that such programs are beneficial. It's a given. In fact in one internal survey I was asked if the company had enough diversity.

The bottom line is that no lawsuits are even required. Companies fall over backwards to fill their diversity quotients.

Someone asked about Canada. Not a Canadian but lived there for a number of years. In the 70s immigration was largely asian and southeast asian. Not culturally homegenous but not disasterously low functioning. That has changed somewhat with more recent Haitian(Quebec) and Jamaican immigration. Good luck with that!

Clutch cargo cult said...

JD - where are Amy Wax's comments from the same panel?

Clutch cargo cult said...

Every large corporation has a "diversity" program. At this point there is not even a single thought that such programs are beneficial. It's a given. In fact in one internal survey I was asked if the company had enough diversity.

The bottom line is that no lawsuits are even required. Companies fall over backwards to fill their diversity quotients.

Someone asked about Canada. Not a Canadian but lived there for a number of years. In the 70s immigration was largely asian and southeast asian. Not culturally homegenous but not disasterously low functioning. That has changed somewhat with more recent Haitian(Quebec) and Jamaican immigration. Good luck with that!

John Derbyshire said...

Clutch:
So far as I know there is no record of the forum. My own post is just my pre-written transcript. (I can't talk impromptu.)

Aaron in Israel said...

Anonymous says that Wax is a closet hereditarian. I don't believe that for a minute. She's said explicitly that she's an environmentalist (I don't think she used that exact word) on behavioral differences between races. From watching her on bloggingheads and reading some of her stuff, she does not seem like the type who'd flat-out lie about that.

The Lesson We Can Learn is that the environmentalist model can take you very far into race realism. If you're talking about race, there's usually no reason at all to beat someone over the head with talk about the biological existence of race or the hereditarian hypothesis of racial differences. Those issues are almost always irrelevant to the social or political topic under discussion.

Also, just to clarify, I'm not saying that anyone should be polite and respectful like Amy Wax. (There's no way I could get through an hour with Adam Serwer without shouting, "You moron!") But snarkiness and right-wing partisanship do have some pretty high costs. It really is less about what you say and more about how you say it.

Aaron in Israel said...

Anonymous suggested that Amy Wax might follow "the HBD-sphere." I clicked through the link that John Derbyshire gave, with this:
Prof. Wax had read and enjoyed my book We Are Doomed and sent me an appreciative email. We had exchanged a couple more friendly emails. (I had no previous acquaintance with her.) She suggested to the BLSA that I might be a good panelist for the upcoming discussion. The BLSA emailed me with an invitation. I emailed back to thank them, but suggested that perhaps, given my views — which I sketched for them clearly — I might not be a good "fit" for the panel. A couple more rounds of emails were exchanged, with the upshot that the BLSA invited me anyway, and I accepted.

Bureaucratologist said...

The focus on lawsuits shouldn't distract from govt. contract requirements, tax breaks and subsidies for suitably "diverse" businesses.

The California Film Commission, for instance, requires an employment diversity report for film producers seeking a tax credit. Things like these help explain why there's a black man or woman in almost every Shakespeare production's cast.

Perhaps the diversity industry is heavily subsidized, rather than non-diverse industries being heavily penalized.

Anonymous said...

@Caonina

"The 'non-Asian-minorities' thing is kind of a giveaway, I agree. She reads iSteve or something like it."

The arrogance of you people to think that anyone needs to read Steve Sailer to come to these conclusions. I am sorry to break this you, but a lot of what Sailer writes is obvious and readily apparent to most people.

Anonymous said...

Amy Wax is quite a gal, and pretty gutsy for someone in the IVY LEAGUE:"Here are a number of concerns with legalizing same sex marriage.

First, whether we like it or not, a big part of the gay agenda for decades has been to repudiate what are regarded as overly restrictive expectations of monogamy and sexual fidelity. There still is considerable ambivalence on this point. Unfortunately, and despite wishful thinking, deviation from the strong norm of sexual exclusivity is very destabilizing of heterosexual relationships. Even more unfortunately, what has been happening in inner city and low income communities illustrates this all too starkly: the rise of multi-partner relationships as a way of life has been a major force in the decline of marriage. So we should be wary of extending marriage to a community with influential people who believe that sexual monogamy isn't that important, that sexually unfaithful partnerships are not such a big deal.

Second, there is a stark biological fact to contend with: in homosexual families, by definition, only one parent, at most, will be biologically related to the child. In effect, gay families are either adoptive families or blended families. Adoptive families at least solve a major social problem: parentless children. But blended families bring children into the world who are destined to live without two biologically related parents. What will be the overall effect of that?

A social science literature is now emerging that reveals the relative weakness and instability of heterosexual blended and step-parent families, compared to married couple families with shared biological children. The children in mixed families do no better than those in single parent families! Will homosexual blended families be equally unstable? Living with a biological father seems especially important, and children living with unrelated males do especially badly. Will that pattern extend to gay families? We don't know. It's a big social experiment.

Finally (and this is in some ways the most important concern for me, as a parent), legalizing homosexual marriage will of course create pressure to "normalize" those relationships in all contexts. This will extend to teaching in public schools (and private schools for that matter).

The absolute equivalence of hetero and homosexual relationships will become public orthodoxy. The result will be that parents will be effectively disabled from expressing any preference whatsoever for heterosexuality, heterosexual families, or traditional heterosexual marriage, and any disapproval or lesser preference for homosexuality, even for their own children. The parity of homosexual and heterosexual relationships and life styles will be aggressively pursued, and anyone who dares to question this will be defined as a bigot. Do I look forward to this breathtaking expansion of the empire of political correctness? Certainly not! The implications of such a state of affairs for religious practice and expression are staggering -- this is a whole different subject unto itself."

Syon

Anonymous said...

After WW2, our system of hiring primarily through personal connections was augmented with a layer of meritocracy out of necessity. We needed the economic and technology advances to compete with the Soviet Union. We set up the GI Bill, SAT test and credentials everywhere. That world is passing. There will be no more Americans on the moon.

So today, we need to augment the existing system with "diversity" to accommodate our dramatic demographic changes. You won't be able to stop diversity any more successfully than you stopped meritocracy. I'm old enough that I'm just trying to set myself up to cope with a dumbed-down America going forward.

Doug1 said...

Unfortunately she doesn't take the further step of saying or even admitting the possibility for why blacks and Hispanics score on average much lower on tests of cognitive ability, whether applied or more purely g loaded, may be partly or rather half or more due to genetic differences

ben tillman said...

AA is about buying off the smartest blacks so they don't become the leaders of riot gangs.

That's just silly. If you have the power to instititute affirmative action, you have the power to stop riots, so the prospective rioters have no bargaining power.

David said...

>Your best chance is to somehow have a contact who is employed at a company like that.[...] You might also just up and make the move. Work at some shit job and apply, apply, apply. It might work[....] One other way that pops into mind is to get on with a branch of the company in another part of the country. It's usually possible after a while to transfer to where the action is if you work it.<

Why bother? Get an old barn out in the country for cheap, fix it up, work a minimum wage job or do odd jobs for neighbors or townies, and read used books for entertainment. Life is short. Don't spend it feeding the beast.

Anonymous said...

WTF - Komment Kontrol won't let us talk about Presbyterian circumcision parties?

Sheesh!

TGGP said...

I remember John McWhorter plugging her book "Race, Wrongs and Remedies" and being impressed by the original approach. Then I was let down she Wax herself showed up on bloggingheads to advocate for some of the views McWhorter described. And I usually find McWhorter rather shallow compared to Glenn Loury.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Derb showed up to remind us of Professor Wax's previous appearance.

How great is that, that she invited Derb to talk at U Penn to the Black Students Association?

This is a case where tenure is really great.

Her National Affairs article refers to the Ed Trust AFQT Study discussed here at iSteve.

Anonymous said...

Wait. This post has everything: HBD; Race realism; Jews. Surely it gets to 100 comments.

Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

There.

AMac said...

Thought I would put in a link to a fairly good and fairly amusing article on disparate impact -- "Hmmm, I think we can touch this third rail if we wear vibrantly and diversely insulated gloves, let's try!"

H/t Gucci Little Piggy.

Test Pattern or Job Discrimination? The Paradox of Ability Tests in Hiring.

--- Begin fair-use quote ---

On July 19th, 2012, the Department of Labor announced it reached a settlement with Leprino Foods on a discrimination suit. The dispute involved the company's practice of using ability tests to assess candidates' skills in applied mathematics, locating information, and observation, for hiring laborers.

The DOL held that these tests had adverse impact on Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans... [adverse impact boilerplate familiar to readers]

This illustrates a dilemma in hiring practices facing many organizations... ability tests, usually written tests that measure some form of knowledge, are exceptional predictors of job performance...

Employers must think critically about the use of strong selection tests that also have a high probability of rejecting a larger proportion of applicants of color and ethnic diversity than Caucasian applicants. Among the implications of this pattern of rejection: applicants may file discrimination suits and government agencies may review the selection program. Perhaps as importantly, though, the organization is cutting itself off from major segments of the labor pool that are becoming increasingly larger.

[continues...]

--- end quote --

Yes -- perhaps. Getting stuck with better employees sounds bad. Very, very bad.