Welcome Guest Blogger Garett Jones
By Bryan Caplan
If you could persuade one more person to blog, who would it be? My answer, hands down, is GMU economist and Twitter hero Garett Jones. I’m positively delighted, then, to welcome Dr. Jones to EconLog as a guest blogger. He’s signed on for the next four months, and my personal hope is that he joins us permanently.
What’s so great about Garett? Most obviously, he’s a brilliant, creative, courageous, yet courteous scholar. He’s done great bread-and-butter macro. Check out his work on fiscal stimulus and speed bankruptcy for starters. More importantly, though, he is arguably the world’s leading authority on the macroeconomics of intelligence.
Garett has (with psychologist Joel Schneider) the single best paper on IQ and economic growth, showing that national IQ has an even larger effect on national income than individual IQ has on individual income. (“Intelligence, Education, and Economic Growth,” Journal of Economic Growth 2006) Another Jones paper uses immigrant earnings to double-check the external validity of international IQ scores. He finds that the average national IQ of an immigrant’s nation of origin has a strong effect on his post-immigration earnings. (“IQ in the Production Function,” Economic Inquiry 2010) Another cool Jones paper combines evidence from a large number of collegiate Prisoners’ Dilemma experiments; he finds cooperation increases with schools’ average SAT scores. (“Are Smarter Groups More Cooperative?,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 2008)
I love these papers, but I’m even more excited by Garett’s first book in progress. The tentative title is Hive Mind: Why Your Nation’s Intelligence Matters Even More Than Your Own. I fully expect many readers to use this book as an excuse to restrict low-IQ immigration. But that’s hardly Garett’s fault. As usual, he takes the high road: Carefully analyzing four distinct mechanisms, several of which confirm the massive benefits of open borders. Garett admittedly takes the political externalities of immigration far more seriously than I do, but I’m looking forward to moving our debate forward right here at EconLog.
Why has Garett so successfully advanced the economics of intelligence? My answer: His rare blend of courage and courtesy. If Garett sees merit in contrarian ideas, he champions them. Unlike most contrarians, though, Garett champions his ideas like a gentleman and a scholar. He meets doubts with evidence, and hostility with sincere smiles. Garett doesn’t just accept the fact that a contrarian must be twice as good to succeed half as well. He welcomes the challenge.
The day Garett first visited GMU, I went home to my wife and told her, “I just met my new best friend.” I was right. If Garett is true to form, I suspect many EconLog readers will soon go home to their partners and them tell, “I just found my new best blogger.” Yes, that’s a tall order. But if I know Garett, he’ll welcome the challenge.