The relation between intelligence and unemployment at the individual and national level

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It has been shown that there is an association between low intelligence and unemployment among individuals within nations. We explore the question of whether this relationship is present across nations. We find that national rates of unemployment for 107 nations, averaged for the years 2001 and 2008, are correlated with national IQs at r = -0.66, and national IQ therefore explains 43.5% of the national variance in unemployment. Corrected for unreliability of both variables, the correlation between national IQ and rates of unemployment is r = -0.756 and national IQ explains 57.2% of the national differences in unemployment. Variations in economic freedom independently account for another 12.9% of national rates of unemployment.

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This study is concerned with the degree to which youth unemployment in N. Ireland can be predicted from a number of antecedent variables. It was found that home background, IQ, personality, school type and educational attainments all had significant effects on unemployment. The magnitude of the effects and the causal mechanisms through which they operate were analysed by path analysis in terms of the Duncan-Jencks path-analysis model. The results show that the model holds well for N. Ireland; the major difference is that school type (grammar vs secondary modern) plays a greater role in N. Ireland than school differences in the U.S.A. The data are considered from the point of view of the intergenerational cycle of deprivation hypothesis. It was found that using the criteria of father-son and father-daughter correlation for unemployment, the cycle is quite weak in N. Ireland.
There are many experimentally untested economic theories on causes of chronic or recurrent “involuntary” unemployment of the able-bodied. The Keynes-inspired theory positing completely impersonal factors such as aggregate demand and the interest rate is usually cited. No one has thus far, systematically tested individual psychological characteristics of chronically underemployed persons to assess possible causes. The WAIS and 4 other tests selected for measuring psychopathic tendencies, rather than clinical psychological illness, were given 50 able-bodied chronically underemployed men. Tests were given orally to avoid illiteracy problems. All tests, except one which was inconclusive, showed statistically significant differences between the underemployed group and a control group of 50 steadily employed men of similar age, with limited, though somewhat higher educational levels. Greater incidence of aberrant test scores among the underemployed persisted after interaction of uncontrolled variables of race and education were statistically excluded. Underemployed showed lower IQs and more socially maladaptive personality characteristics, suggesting early developing, if not lifelong psychological handicap. The findings indicate need of consideration of such factors as sources of underemployment in theoretical and practical approaches to the problem.