Correlation and Causation

One would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh here:

Despite billions being invested in education, children born in deprived homes are no more likely to escape the poverty trap than they were 30 years ago, it is claimed.

That isn\’t laughing material, to be sure, but this is:

Comparing a series of research papers carried out over the past 50 years, it found a sharp fall in social mobility between 1958 and 1970.

Everyone in the debate agrees that it is education which creates even the possibility of the desired social mobility. The Grammar School/Secondary Modern system was progressively scrapped from the 50s to the 70s in favour of the Comprehensive system. This, it was insisted, would lead to greater social mobility.

In fact, social mobility fell, not rose.

Correlation or Causation?

Your call.

7 thoughts on “Correlation and Causation”

  1. When they talk about social mobility, I assume they only mean upwards. Presumably a mass chavicifation of the professional classes wouldn’t be considered desirable.

  2. Highly unlikely (the report itself blames university education and access) as the dates don’t tally

    By 1969 21% of pupils were in grammars. But our cohort has only just started, and by 1974 (when they leave) that % has fallen drastically to around 5%. So the vast majority of pupils weren’t in grammar schools, and the majority of those that were, weren’t by the end.

    Furthermore the % of the bottom quartile (the survey’s interest) who were in would have been something like 5%, ie around 1% of the population. This just isn’t enough to make a difference in the figures.

  3. Tim actually made a good point about downward social mobility, which if you are interested in someone’s position in the income distribution, then it is of course a zero sum game, for every winner there must be a loser.

    Nothing wrong with this, I’d think, though obviously it’s not good if you are on the end of it.

    Tim adds: I’ve made that point repeatedly: it’s part of my (as John B puts, it, “fuckinig for virginity”) campaign to abolish inheritance tax. Let the buggers inherit then blow it, rather than these trusts designed to shield the capital. Such downward mobility would clearly increase upward.

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