You’ve probably heard the phrase “Baptists and bootleggers“, referring to the odd coalition that favored the prohibition of alcohol.

That phrase came to mind when I saw the following graph:

There’s a recent trend away from emphasizing academic factors when determining who gets admitted to college.  So who would benefit from less emphasis on grades and test scores?  The graph shown above suggests two different groups:  Those from low-income families (who tend to have slightly lower academic ratings) and the top 1% of the income distribution (who tend to get extremely high ratings on intangible factors.)  Thus left wing social justice warriors and trust fund kids have a certain commonality of interests—de-emphasizing academic ratings.

I see a lot of academic studies, but rarely do I see a graph that is so “expressive”.  In the TV show “Succession“, a spoiled rich young man makes fun of the sort of people who have to stay at a Marriott (which most people view as a pretty good hotel).  This graph suggests that there really is something different about the entitled rich.  I’m not surprised that they “earned” (bought?) higher ratings, although the extent of the increase did surprise me.  But what most surprises me is that the intangible ratings seem pretty flat all the way up from 10% to 90% of the income distribution.

There’s a lot of recent debate about “white privilege”, and I would never deny that being white has advantages in certain situations.  But this graph suggests that any advantage from being white is probably dwarfed by the advantage of being rich.

PS.  I’m not saying the ratings are necessarily inaccurate; the rich have greater ability to achieve success in certain non-academic areas.  Rather the problem (if there is one) would be if the college admission officer interpreted the ratings as measuring some sort of intrinsic characteristic of the applicant.