Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Study debunks myth of job testing as race barrier

Conventional wisdom holds that the standardized tests some employers require of job applicants serve as a barrier to equal employment. But a pioneering study shows just the opposite: Screening increases employers' precision in matching applicants to jobs and can raise productivity for workers of all races--without hindering minority hiring.

"Job testing has the potential to raise productivity by improving the quality of matches between workers and firms. But because of the near-universal finding that minorities fare relatively poorly on standardized tests, there is a pervasive concern that better candidate selection comes at a cost of reduced opportunity for groups with lower average test scores," says David Autor, associate professor of economics at MIT who conducted the study with David Scarborough of Black Hills State University.

Their study, "Does Job Testing Harm Minority Workers? Evidence from Retail Establishments," was recently published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics. The paper is available at .

As part of their research, Autor and Scarborough studied hiring and job longevity among primarily high school-educated workers who were paid hourly wages for customer-service jobs in the private sector. The researchers relied on data from a national retail firm whose 1,363 stores switched from informal, paper-based screening to computer-supported, test-based screening over the course of one year. "Access to this data gave us the unique opportunity to evaluate the effects of job testing on minorities in a competitive business environment," Autor says.

Both paper- and test-based hiring methods used interviews, but the latter relies significantly on a personality test administered and scored by computer. The retailer's 100-item personality test ranked attributes such as agreeableness, conscientiousness and extroversion that are associated with success--or productivity--in customer service. "These tests basically predict how many times you're willing to say, 'May I help you with that?' and 'Have a nice day!' before you run out of patience," Autor says.

An outside firm, Unicru, scored and analyzed the tests, highlighting problem areas and completing background checks and returned them to individual store managers. Qualified applicants were then interviewed.

Consistent with previous research, minority applicants performed significantly worse on the electronic employment test. But the researchers detected no change in the racial composition of hires once electronic screening was installed. Moreover, the authors found, productivity gains were equally large among minority and majority hires.

The findings are significant, according to Autor, because the outcomes do not support the accepted belief that minorities' relatively low scores on standardized tests mean that such tests harm the job prospects of minority workers. "Initially, I was surprised. I expected the increase in productivity that followed job testing would surely come at the expense of minority hiring," Autor says.

But the test of insightful research may be that very surprise, the moment when accepted beliefs dissolve in the face of new facts. The paradox that job testing did not harm minority workers is resolved quite simply, Autor notes.

Before the computer test, the retailer informally screened for the personality traits that are measured by the test. Job testing made this screening process more systematic and precise, but research showed it did not tip the scales for or against any particular group of applicants. Consequently, the productivity gains from testing came from improved selection within applicant groups (e.g., minorities, nonminorities), not from hiring fewer minorities.

Autor is quick to note that discrimination in employment exists and that bias--arising from prior information, interviews or beliefs about a particular group--can affect equality in hiring and efficiency in the workplace even with electronic testing. For example, if job tests exacerbate an existing bias, testing just increases hiring of groups favored by the test. Then productivity stalls and neither employer nor workers profit.


What multiculturalism has done to Norway

During the nine years and two weeks that I've lived in Oslo, I've seen the city change significantly -- for the worse. I don't remember exactly when it started reminding me of New York in the 1970s and 80s, but by now the resemblance is undeniable. Burglary, rape, gay-bashing, mugging, graffiti, vandalism: you name it, we've got it in spades, and it's still on the rise. Public stabbings and gang fights have become routine.

Forget for a moment the Muslim youth gangs that are responsible for a wildly disproportionate number of the crimes here: it's now impossible to walk in broad daylight down Karl Johans Gate, the grand ceremonial thoroughfare that was once the kingdom's pride, without being accosted by aggressive gypsy beggars who want your money (they've been bussed in from Rumania specifically for this purpose) and by equally aggressive drug addicts (some of who are asking for handouts, others of whom are dealing). At night, this unsavory crew is replaced by an even pushier brigade of Nigerian prostitutes, some of whom will follow you for a block or more, repeatedly (and often belligerently) demanding that you avail yourself of their services. So insistent are they that it doesn't even help to scream: "I'm gay!" Even the pre-Giuliani Times Square area was safer and more congenial.

The statistics are dire. Last month came news that the rate of reported crimes in Oslo is now four times that of New York; last week it emerged that Oslo's rape figures reached an all-time high in 2007; today it was reported that over 99 percent of street robberies in the city go unsolved. To any unblinkered individual who lives here, these statistics are no surprise. Yet civic authorities, faced with the steady erosion of law and order, exude indifference and ineffectuality. Alas, as illustrated by the vile comments made last October to a Muslim audience in Oslo by the head of Norway's security police -- who, as recounted by Rita Karlsen, bent over backwards to praise Muslims and decouple Islam from terrorism while maligning America and depicting ordinary Norwegians as ignorant, potentially violent anti-Muslim bigots -- Norwegian cops are hobbled by the same mindless multiculturalism that infects their counterparts elsewhere in the West.

I was just about to post a link to my City Journal piece about creeping jihad when a fine example of that very phenomenon popped up on TV. On a program about the status of women today, Afshan Rafik, a (female) Muslim member of the Norwegian parliament for the Conservative Party, told TV2's interviewer that under Islam women enjoy the same rights as men.

Now, any responsible journalist, of course, should know that this is an out-and-out untruth. It's not a matter of opinion but of objective fact that a woman's testimony in a sharia court is given less weight than a man's, that a Muslim woman can't marry four husbands, etc., etc. So what did the interviewer do when Rafik made this breathtakingly untrue statement? Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. The beaming, approving smile on her face didn't waver in the slightest. And the moment passed. Nothing new here, alas: nowadays, the mainstream journalist who actually challenges such outrageous lies about Islam is a rare bird indeed.


Propaganda Runs Rampant As Iran, Islamicists And The Liberal Western Media Find Common Cause

OK, call me dense. Call me Pollyannish. Call me an optimist. I have hedged for years in calling the liberal western news media allies of the enemies of freedom and democracy. I have hinted their actions would make one wonder, but I have also given them some leeway by acknowledging that in the heat of politics one can make horrible decisions that hurt their own country and help its enemies. My example of this kind of fervent stupidity is Neville Chamberlain, who tried to appease Hitler and Nazi Germany by signing treaties that did nothing more than sanction Germany's earliest acts of conquest and give the Nazi regime time to mass one of the most destructive military forces the world had ever seen at that time. Chamberlain was a dupe, but he was not a traitor.

During Vietnam the US `lost' the war to the liberal movement that actually helped North Vietnam win the war. There were many examples of deluded Americans giving open support to our enemies (e.g., Hanoi Jane). The line was crossed, but since America had inserted itself into someone else's war those who crossed the line were given a bye - at that time. Now they would not because now we know the horror of their actions - millions killed as the communists `cleansed' that region of the world of the defenders of freedom and democracy.

Now we are in a different war. The United States of America is responding to decades of escalating war with Islamo Fascists, which culminated with 3,000 dead Americans on US soil on 9-11-01. Now the war is between the US and those targeting Americans. This is not a proxy war, this is us against our enemies who have killed our people.

In Iraq we have an opportunity to leave that country free and democratic, and the only thing keeping us there is al-Qaeda and Shiite Islamo Fascists like the Mahdi Army. I have never understood why the Islamo Fascists would not just let Iraq set up their new democracy and then try to win the hearts of the Muslim street through the democratic process - until I realized these fascists were as addicted to killing and oppression as their Nazi counterparts were nearly a century ago. For al-Qaeda and their ilk they are not leading unless they are oppressing, unless their is no chance for the masses under their control to change their minds and take a different direction.

Once that was clearly their MO, it also became clear those opposing these thugs would win in the end, since humanity will always chose freedom over a torture chamber (even if the chamber is their own neighborhoods). Now we can see another truth coming out from the battle between the duly elected government in Iraq and armed thugs trying to destroy it. We see how common cause has been forged between Iran and the Mahdi Army, but clearly another ally has joined forces to try and destroy Iraq on its path to peace and freedom. And that ally is the liberal western media.

The best example of this came out of the Christian Science Monitor today as it reported on the surrender of the Mahdi Army to the demands of the internationally recognized, legitimately elected Iraqi government. Remember the news media selects the scope and focus of its reporting, so when it gives credence to the propaganda spin coming from those who want Iraq to fall apart without any criticism or challenge it exposes its true nature. Check out this reporting slant:
A cease-fire deal to end seven weeks of fighting in Sadr City could provide the clearest test yet of just how much sway the anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has over armed militants operating inside his sprawling bastion of support in Baghdad.

The truce, accepted by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki Saturday after being negotiated between the United Iraqi Alliance of ruling Shiite political parties and representatives of the Mr. Sadr's movement, is supposed to end the daily fighting that has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the vast Shiite slum.....

It remains to be seen how successful the deal will be at ending the fighting, which assistance organizations warned last week was leading to a humanitarian crisis. Militants in the slum have demonstrated varying degrees of loyalty to Sadr, who is thought to be in Iran. If fighting and mortar-launching continue despite the truce, it could be a sign that Sadr has lost control of large factions within his militia.

In any case, the cease-fire agreement harbors the seeds of a continuing political conflict because it does not address the differences between the government and Sadr supporters over a political movement maintaining a militia.

Members of the Sadrist movement say the government's campaign against the Mahdi Army is a distraction from Maliki's true motivations: to stop the Sadrists' participation in provincial elections set for October, and to weaken Iraq's "nationalist forces" at a time when the government is negotiating a set of agreements on a long-term US military presence in Iraq.

"We are the last, the only resistance now to the occupation of Iraq," says Nassar al-Rubaie, leader of the Sadrist bloc in Iraq's parliament, the largest group in the 270-member body. "We want an Iraq free of all outside control, and an end to Iraqis fighting Iraqis."
Emphasis mine. With al-Qaeda on its last legs and facing a new concerted action to dislodge what's left of it from the area around Mosul the statement is quite correct. The Mahdi Army is the last hope for those who want to create a defeat in Iraq for America. That means those who need a defeat in Iraq need the Mahdi to succeed. This includes of course Sadr and the Mahdi who want control of Iraq. And it includes Sadr's Iranian masters who want control of Iraq through a puppet leader like they have with Syria.

And it includes the liberals in the news media and politics who need America to lose in Iraq so they can be proven right - for once. After years of predicting doom in Iraq, and even going so far out on the credibility limb as to claim The Surge was not working before it was even started, these liberals need Mahdi miracle to save their own credibility (and paychecks of course).

It is now abundantly clear why the media has lied about the battle between the Mahdi forces and the duly elected government of Maliki (many times called the US supported government of Maliki). Even while America is winning the war against al-Qaeda by winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim Street - which has taken up arms and chased al-Qaeda out of Iraq - the liberal SurrenderMedia has had no choice but to fabricate a defeat (as I noted in this previous post). And who does the fabricated defeat help? It doesn't help America and it doesn't help Iraq quell the armed resistance to its lawful sovereignty. It does help the enemies of freedom and democracy.

But moreover, it doesn't help the Iraqis themselves for the liberal news media to keep trying to salvage defeat from victory, by giving the Islamo Fascists hope that maybe this time there will be a defeat for Iraq and America. By encouraging these lame ideas, by giving them credence, they give a reason to the thugs to fight and kill. But what all those involved in finding defeat forget is it is the Iraqis who will decide their path - and it will not be decided to help the Mahdi, Iran or the liberal western media save face. It will be to build a better future:
What really motivates Maliki, say the Sadrists, is his fear that with their anti-American message they will make large gains in the next round of elections.

But that public support may be less overwhelming than they assume if the growing impatience with conditions in Sadr City are any indication. Indeed, Iraqi officials say that it was the ire of Sadr City residents that prompted Sadr representatives to reach the cease-fire agreement. "We had Mahdi fighters shooting near our house, and then the Americans would come and shoot at them," says Abbas Alibi, a Sadr City street vendor who took his wife and four children to a camp of tents set up for displaced Sadr City residents at a Baghdad stadium. "We are not involved on either side of this fight, but it made staying in our home impossible."

Mr. Alibi says he finally decided to make his move when the government began encouraging residents of some parts of Sadr City to evacuate. "We thought surely that meant a big fight was coming."
The Mahdi Army has no groundswell of public support. The Iranians and Sadr have no ground swell of public support to open up a real civil war. And the liberal media is losing its support as it lies to itself in public, grasping to find another Vietnam in a war that is nothing like Vietnam - starting with an all volunteer force proud of its accomplishments and dedicated to victory. This is not John Kerry's military, and this is not Jane Fonda's pet project, and this is not the age of the media monopoly over information to America.

There is common cause lined up on the other side of the equation. Opposing the hopes and desires of the Mahdi thugs, Sadr and Iran, and the liberal media are the Iraqi people, the Iraqi government, the pro-US states in the region, the US military forces, and above all the American people who will take victory over defeat any day of the week. This is the line up folks - who is crazy enough to pick the dark side?


Oh no, you have to be a citizen to vote?

NY Times:

The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote.

The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card.

Sponsors of the amendment - which requires the approval of voters to go into effect, possibly in an August referendum - say it is part of an effort to prevent illegal immigrants from affecting the political process. Critics say the measure could lead to the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of legal residents who would find it difficult to prove their citizenship.

Voting experts say the Missouri amendment represents the next logical step for those who have supported stronger voter ID requirements and the next battleground in how elections are conducted. Similar measures requiring proof of citizenship are being considered in at least 19 states. Bills in Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina have strong support. But only in Missouri does the requirement have a chance of taking effect before the presidential election.

In Arizona, the only state that requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, more than 38,000 voter registration applications have been thrown out since the state adopted its measure in 2004. That number was included in election data obtained through a lawsuit filed by voting rights advocates and provided to The New York Times. More than 70 percent of those registrations came from people who stated under oath that they were born in the United States, the data showed. ....
I would have no trouble doing it and I was born along time ago in a hospital that has since been closed and a town that has been incorporated into another town. I just wrote the county in which I was born and requested a copy of my birth certificate. How hard is that? Not hard at all. If I was a naturalized citizen I think I would be proud enough of my citizenship papers to keep them handy.

I think I probably had to present some of this same data when I joined the Marine Corps. I would think probably every employee of the NY Times could come up with the same data, or get one of their coworkers to help them get it. If liberals can do it too, what is the problem?

Missouri has had experience with fraudulent voter registration in recent years and has reason to be carefully. For some reason that scares some Democrats. Why? Has the Times examined whether any of the 38,000 disqualified in Arizona actually have birth certificates?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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