The Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, but has a much higher standard of living. Jared Diamond offered some characteristically plausible-sounding reasons for this disparity in his 2005 book Collapse, and these ideas received a fair bit of media coverage following the Haiti earthquake in 2010. While race and human capital both played a part in those explanations, Diamond did not mention intelligence differences (having already rejected this line of thinking as “loathsome” in Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997)). However, the theoretical relevance of this variable is obvious: intelligence and achievement tests are a more direct measure of individual human capital than input variables like education. Jones and Schneider (2006) found IQ to be “the most robust human capital measure” in an expansive dataset of international comparison measures—a better predictor of economic development than variables like educational spending and enrollment.
IQ and the Wealth of Nations (2002) did not include data for either Haiti or the Dominican Republic, but Lynn’s dataset has included one study for the Dominican Republic since the publication of IQ and Global Inequality (2006).
Here I scrutinize Lynn’s use of this reference and introduce a few more small studies. The data available for the Dominican Republic is quite meager. Continue reading