Monday, July 26, 2021

Heckman on Denmark vs the USA on Intergenerational Income Mobility

James Heckman on Inequality and Economic Mobility

Some comments on the econtalk podcast with James Heckman about his paper looking at intergenerational income mobility in Denmark vs the USA.  It seems it is reasonably close to that in the USA.

I’ve been following this debate for a long time and I feel I have a lot to say. This may not be the right forum so sorry.

First, I think Denmark is an odd selection. Italy and Spain have lower murder rates, less child abuse, and higher life expectancy. The difference in length of life between Italy and Denmark is about as big that difference between USA and Denmark. Also the Inuit (Greenland is part of Denmark like Puerto Rico is part of the USA). But the people talking about Denmark like the Government policies of Denmark and the Government of Italy and Spain are not so respected and they talk bout Denmark. If you rather talk up Italy and Spain you tend to not think it is there great Governments.

It seems that even since ancient times some have known that what people need to live a good productive life is wisdom. Like the wisdom in the Bible book of Proverbs, be diligent, save, don’t drink to much or do drugs too much etc.

Finally I am a UBI/NIT supporter because I think it can allow us to have a better welfare system and maybe even spend less Government money but some of my allies UBI/NIT supporters seem to think it will make the poor be much better people, that is, they’ll go and get better school, drink, commit less crime and take drug less. But IMHO there is only 1 reason to enact a UBI/NIT and that is to all the lowest earners among us to consume more goods and services and it might have corrosive effects among some of the poor. Even most of the poor today are richer than the middle class where in not so distance past so why think giving people more money will be revolutionary. Is it poverty that causes the lack of skill, drug use and crime or is it the lack of skill, drug use and crime that causes the poverty?