Nature vs Nurture

Some friends have been commenting on a nature-vs-nurture paper concerning adoption. I haven’t read through the whole paper but I found a snippet that strongly implies the chart draws from incomplete data and is completely irrelevant.

Here is the paper for your perusal and comments.

Here is the graph


and here is the snippet from page 14 calling this graph into question.

The survey measure of family income is much higher for the non-adoptees than for the adoptees: $61,000 per year versus $42,000 per year. But this huge difference narrows to $1,600 when I control for age, education, and gender.

I don’t know the origin of the graph for sure but it appears to be from


  1. TJIC says:

    Geez…that’s quite a thing to bury the sentence “my entire thesis is untrue” deep in the body of the paper!

    Well, I, for one, admit that I was a slacker and didn’t read the whole paper, but accepted the thesis statement at face value.

    Mea culpa.

  2. lee says:

    Again, I haven’t read the whole thing but in skimming the paper, it looks like that wasn’t his whole thesis. It looks like the author was massaging the data up and down to try and tease information out of it, as collegians do.

    The data might be in the paper in some form or other but it certainly seems like the data in the chart wasn’t the finished product. I can’t find the income chart in question in the paper. I don’t know where the chart comes from but it looks like marginalrevolution created it from some of the incomplete data. Though I’m not sure about that.

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