May 23, 2014

Over- and Under-Performers Relative to IQ

Occidentalist has created a graph of countries with estimated average IQ along the horizontal axis and a composite of 52 measures of social progress along the vertical axis:
It's interesting to look at outliers that do better or worse than expected from estimated IQ. For example, Sweden, which sometimes seem more like a sort of machine for scoring high on indices of social progress, does well relative to its estimated IQ. Costa Rica also stands out, as does Panama and Jamaica. I hadn't been paying attention to Panama until a reader told me was moving to the Pacific side, which is breezier than the Caribbean side. 

The underperformers include China, Cambodia, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Burundi and Chad.


Anonymous said...

Costa Rica and Sweden have strong pacifist leanings and stayed neutral during all the major conflicts for the past 100 years or so.

Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Yemen have experienced a fair amount of internal strife the past 10 years. Communist economic management held China back.

Peace and prosperity sometimes do go hand in hand.

AnotherDad said...

Norway fares just as well as Sweden and was in WWII, occupied by the Germans and then in NATO.

Anonymous said...

Norway is a petro state, and Swedes go to Norway to work and bring the money back home, kind of like Mexicans remitting their earnings in the USA.

Dave Pinsen said...

Norway should fare even better, considering its huge per capita oil wealth.

2Degrees said...

Costa Rica and Panama are so superior to the rest of Central America it isn't even funny. Costa Rica makes a big deal about being diverse, but Ticos are almost all mestizos (in similar proportions) and have huge ethnic pride. The biggest social problem faced by the country is friction with Nica refugees who never went home. Costa Rica works because it's people are determined to be better than their neighbours. Imagine a working class white family who have a bunch of chavs move in next door and become super respectable to compensate.

Anonymous said...

Sub Saharan Africa (or at least those without a civil war) and the diaspora actually seem to be holding up quite well on these measures, particularly the ex-British possessions.

The Far East is doing quite badly. Is China's IQ over-estimated due to a bias towards middle class and urban test takers?

Anonymous said...

Thailand doesn't have 95+ IQ (eyeballing). Perhaps it got mixed-up with Vietnam.

Another Norwegian said...

Norway has been on the top of these lists since the 17th. century, so it is not just oil money. Thomas Malthus went to Norway, because it had the highest life expectancy, and one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe.

There he noticed that it was the local rich that had to feed the poor, so they naturally forbade them to marry, unless they could get permission from both the local priest and the local sergeant, that they had the money end means to support a family.

dearieme said...

"Norway should fare even better, considering its huge per capita oil wealth."

I wonder if their figures are distorted by their decision to store much of the oil money for future generations; contrast that with, say, the USA's policy of running a deficit to rob future generations.

Anonymous said...

Over performance like Costa Rica, Ireland, and Panama relative to IQ seems to correlate with not having much of a military industrial complex.

Having gotten rich of the US military industrial complex CIA man Robert Lady can't stand living in the US so much he risked incarceration not to live in the US.

bleach said...

Why do you say that? Looking at other oil-rich countries on the list, it isn't obvious that all that crude does anything for them at least by this metric. A land's most important natural resource is her people--especially if they're white.

Anonymous said...

So China’s “Social Progress” scores at high 50s, roughly 2/3 of that of Costa Rica, a lot lower than many Sub Sahara Africans such as Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Ghana, drastically much lower, like day and night, than progressive heavens-on-earth such as Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Mauritius, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, and any banana republic one can name.

Whoever designed this “52-measure of social progress” must be an intellectual genius visiting from the parallel universe.

Anonymous said...

Panama is the UAE of the Americas. Not a real country in the same way. Without its tax haven activities - not led by natives, I assume - it would be buried in the pile.

Gilbert P

Ali said...

Pakistan gets dragged down due to high rates of cousin marriage and a lack of micronutrients in basic foods to combat cretinism.

SFG said...

Most of the underperformers (including Israel--surprised you missed that one ;) ) have been dealing with war (it doesn't matter in this case who started it, it will mess you up no matter whose fault it is).

Anonymous said...

We know that environment influences IQ -- what's not clear is how and how much it does so. As such, it's a bit hard to tell what conclusions to draw from this data. For example, Botswana and South Africa are roughly equal developmentally, but Botswana is ahead in IQ (more so, no doubt, if one were to only consider the black population in each country). Does this mean Botswana is underperforming SA relative to genetic ability, or does it mean that Botswana has managed (through environmental factors) to raise the IQ of its population more than their genetic neighbors?

JayMan said...

See also, on those outliers and their importance for HBD theory:

Welcome Readers from Portugal! | JayMan's Blog

linsee said...

I love statistics. What, if anything, is common among nations below (or above) the regression line? Communism, Islam?
What would a principal components analysis show?

FredR said...

I'd be willing to bet that China is a victim of its own test gaming here. They look like they have the highest IQ of any nation in the chart, which seems unlikely to me.

staffanspersonalityblog said...

This looks a lot like an East-West divide. Almost all East Asians and East Europeans are underperforming.

Alec said...

I would guess that China's real mean IQ is closer to Thailand's. Hasn't iSteve pointed out that most of their internationally scored test takers are selected from the urban elites?

Anonymous said...

costa rica is an odd place. There's a partially forgotten story that took place in the Western Hemisphere in the latter half of the 1800s. "Weird" religions (amish, mormons etc) for much of their time had lived beyond the physical control of the various places they resided (ie, by living in territorial Utah). But as the various Countries of the Western Hem grew (as a result of physical expansion, but also things like telegraph and rail allowed their writ to impact areas that before were only nominally under their control). As a result, many of these more fringe frontier religions basically needed to ask themselves: Are we In or Out?
Mormonism, as an example, basically had a schism. Utah petitioned for statehood, but TONS of Mormons went to areas they thought would be eternally "beyond control" in rural Canada and Mexico (see Mitt Romney's Pops).
So, too, with Costa Rica. It ended up being a respotory for Pacifist religions. There's a substantial number of Mormons, Lutherans and Quakers. Mennonites, too, have made inroads.
And these guys aren't trivial. Often they established large commercial farms and towns naturally spring up around their holdings. So they end up as the Richest Guy In Town, Town Mayor AND #1 employer. A good example of this is Monteverde, a town started by 11 Quakers that now is home to some 7,000 people.
Costa Rica is what happened to all the people that opted "out" in the "In or Out" conversations of the 1800s

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most shocking on this chart is Malawi. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery on this?

The other black nations that do better on social indices than you'd expect seem to have obvious inputs. South Africa, for instance, one could attribute it to Unz's "smart fraction" OR the mineral Wealth. Places like Trinidad and Tobago are essentially little Saudi Arabias in the Caribbean sea. Botswana and Namibia both are tiny populations run effectively by diamond companies. Lesotho is a microstate that would basically track ZA.
But plucky little Malawi is out there destroying the averages.

2Degrees said...

Off topic, but want is going on in Ukraine may be seen as a battle between Oligarchs.

Frank S. said...

This graph shows a correlation with IQ, but it also shows that IQ, while very important, is only one of the factors involved in success. It seems implied that these other countries are 'underperforming' from where they should be, when likely other heritable factors are playing a role. Maybe these countries are actually performing exactly where they should be based on the abilities of their populations.

It is likely that other components shown to be involved with success, such as future time orientation, creativity, impulse control, creating high trust societies, etc. play important roles in creating these differences and likely have heritable components. Culture too, seems to have a strong basis in the genetic attributes of the population. Maybe, for example, the Chinese are bright in terms of raw IQ, but are lagging economically because of being relatively uncreative, and because of a tendency towards lying, cheating, etc, create low trust societies.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to judge the independent social progress of countries that received massive infrastructure buildup under British colonialism. (Jamaica and T&T).

Anonymous said...

The real story isn't what countries underperform relative to IQ (which can often be chalked up to myriad factors like wars, commodity prices, or totalitarian ideologies), it's that there is such a strong positive correlation between IQ and this social progress index in the first place.

Nicholas Wade, Steve Sailer et al., are on to something

Sweden, Switzerland and Japan are near the top of this index and Guinea and Togo are near the bottom of this index for the same reason that the Marshall Plan was a smashing success and countless other foreign aid programs like the Point Four Program failed, and why Westchester County is a lot nicer place to live than the Bronx: it's in part due to the ancestry of the people who live there.

Archbishop Bigod said...

Needs a z axis for relative beauty of the populations in question.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most shocking on this chart is Malawi. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery on this?

It could just be noise/error: e.g., perhaps the data on IQ in Malawi were poorly gathered or are unreliable for some reason.

Anonymous said...

"SFG said...
Most of the underperformers (including Israel--surprised you missed that one"

Looking at the actual "data" Israel appears to have been docked severely because of environmental issues (namely, they use too much water relative to the amount of available water and there is no biodiversity left) and social issues (namely, mistreating the poor Arabs and also apparently not being gay friendly enough). They also got dinged (but not by as much) because people tend to get killed there from terrorism.

In any event, the overall trend line is convincing. I just find that the inclusion of belief in global warming and gay rights as some measure of civilization is a bit silly.

jody said...

probably because the mean IQ in china is not 105.

china continues to be THE story, by far THE biggest story in the entire HBD world, interest, apparently.

china should have 4 times as much stuff as the US. where is all their stuff? i will ask the question again and again.

Anonymous said...

The graph is meaningless and has close to 0 value of any sort.

Has that "social progress" measure of Y axis supervised and proved by Hilary Clinton of the State Department? Anyone who is not democracy must has a very low social progress score as a default. It's like Nobel Peace Prize Winners Graph & asscociated country avg IQ allover again.

Depending on how to define and measure that highly subjective "social progress", I can make up any graph you'd like to see.

Can't believe this kind of garbage-in-garbage-out has so many diligent admirers in a supposed HBD blog, or the high IQers are mostly on a day-off?

Whiskey said...

Jody -- China's "stuff" is empty cities and trains to nowhere and all sorts of concrete poured on everything that wasn't moving. Apartments standing empty, etc. All parts of government endorsed speculation, most of it at the local level. See the empty city of Ourdos.

As far as pacifist societies being higher, yes, when you don't have to spend money on defense you can spend it on education and welfare.

HOWEVER, that works as long as you have the US or Britain to provide you protection from outsiders who would like to kill your people and take your stuff. That worked so far for Costa Rica and Panama, and Ireland (which got rich only recently, since the Euro money in the 1980's poured in).

If/When the Protector is no longer able or willing or both to protect, then societies get screwed. Roman Britain in 419 AD, Ireland during King John's reign, Israel without the US (which is why they have their nukes as insurance), see also the Gulf States and Saudi and Japan.

Japan is likely to do significantly poorer, because the US is no longer able or willing to provide protection against China or its pawn North Korea. Both of which are nuclear armed. Japan will have to build a big navy, air force, nuclear deterrent forces, all of which will take quite a bit of money and leave less for social stability.

Pacifism only "works" if you live in a nice neighborhood, the lesson of modern society is that there is no nice neighborhood as things like nukes get acquired by failed kleptocracies like North Korea or Pakistan. At best it is like living in NYC's Upper West Side before De Blasio's NAM-friendly policies let loose a tidal wave of crime.

irishman said...

God, not more BS from Richard Lynn about Ireland. Lynn says Irish IQ is 92 while Britain's is 100.

Folks, I know Irish people are not popular in these parts but let's keep our discussions somewhat anchored in reality. Irish are not substantially less intelligent than Anglo-Celtic British people. I cite as evidence the over performance of 6 counties Catholics relative to rest of the UK and the reasonable(better than white) performance of Irish children in the UK.

Spend a minute thinking about who Richard Lynn is before you reference him with regards to Ireland. He was a professor at the University of Ulster in Coleraine. Trusting such a person about Irish people is like trusting someone from the discovery institute for an opinion about evolution.

Anonymous said...

Cambodia underperforms because of internal violence and also socialist economic policy. Laos is in the same boat. Actually, to a lesser extent, Israel is too.

Anonymous said...

"Is China's IQ over-estimated due to a bias towards middle class and urban test takers?"

Coastal not urban imo.

They don't want to show the inland figures cos they're not as high.

(cos seafood = iodine)


"Off topic, but want is going on in Ukraine may be seen as a battle between Oligarchs."

Yes but is it a battle between oligarchs with the EU and US state dept. jumping in and making it worse or is it the EU and US state dept. using oligarchs as front runners.


"Perhaps the most shocking on this chart is Malawi. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery on this?"

Judging by the wiki i'd say it must be rogue data.

Anonymous said...

Staffan: This looks a lot like an East-West divide. Almost all East Asians and East Europeans are underperforming.

South Asia as well to a lesser extent.

The big "peak agricultural" Eurasian civilizations seem not well adapted to social modernity (which is essentially what progress means here).

Stronger adaptation to being an agricultural peasant maybe leaves you less prepared for living in a modern society.

Anonymous said...

It is well known that Lynn go his Irish data by Stephenjgoulding it.

Anonymous said...

Considering that "social progress" is moronic stuff like "gender equality" (a la Sweden).....

Anonymous said...

A lot of US states are larger than the plotted countries. I've seen an interesting list of per capita income by country and selected US states.

Yea, Switzerland is a great place, but only 8 million people.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps the most shocking on this chart is Malawi. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery on this?"

Malawi is actually one of the poorer countries in the world. It had the good fortune to be lead by a total dictator-for-life who lasted a long time and apparently cared only about making money. Since he owned practically the whole country, the country punched above it's weight. Lately Malawi might not be doing so good, perhaps those are old data:

"...Malawi is among the world's least-developed countries... ...The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet development needs

...Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality...

...Banda became Prime Minister in 1963... The new document also formally made Malawi a single-party state with the MCP as the only legal party. In 1971, Banda declared himself president-for-life. For almost 30 years, Banda presided over a rigidly authoritarian regime, suppressing opposition to his party and ensuring that he had no personal opposition.

...While in office, and using his control of the country, Banda constructed a business empire that eventually produced one-third of the country's GDP and employed 10% of the wage-earning workforce. 1994 the first multi-party elections were held in Malawi, and Banda was defeated by Bakili Muluzi."

"Malawi election recount ordered in some areas", BBC, 26 May 2014:

"...In one constituency nearly five times as many people voted as there were names on the voters' roll.

...The High Court on Saturday over-ruled an attempt by President Joyce Banda to annul the vote which she said was marred by rigging."

Joyce Banda (no relation to the dictator-for-life) is ranked as the most powerful woman in Africa.

Malawi is probably lucky that about half the border of the country is shoreline of lake Malawi, the 9th largest lake in the world. For your amusement:

"On August 16, 1914, Lake Malawi was the scene of a brief naval battle when the British gunboat SS Gwendolen, commanded by a Captain Rhoades, heard that World War I had broken out, and he received orders from the British Empire's high command to "sink, burn, or destroy" the German Empire's only gunboat on the lake, the Hermann von Wissmann, commanded by a Captain Berndt. Rhoades's crew found the Hermann von Wissmann in a bay near "Sphinxhaven", in German East African territorial waters. Gwendolen disabled the German boat with a single cannon shot from a range of about 1,800 metres (2,000 yd). This very brief gunboat conflict was hailed by The Times in England as the British Empire's first naval victory of World War I. Up until that time, the lakeshore that is now in Tanzania had been a part of German East Africa."

Anonymous said...

"Over performance like Costa Rica, Ireland, and Panama relative to IQ seems to correlate with not having much of a military industrial complex."

That Ireland over-performs was quite surprising; that seems like as good an explanation as any.

As an Hiberno-American who lived for a time in the old country, my impression was that the Irish on the whole tend to be smart and technically-capable like other Northern Europeans, but somewhat lazy and very disorganized (unlike the supposedly industrious Scandinavians). Then again, maybe I'm projecting my own personality here. Still, it seems like other countries have historically made much better use of Ireland's human capital than Ireland herself.