ERIC Number: ED160705
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Myths of the Meritocracy: Cognitive Skill and Adult Success in the United States. Discussion Paper No. 485-78.
Olneck, Michael; Crouse, James
Using the Kalamazoo Brothers' data and the Project Talent 11-year Follow-up survey, the authors tested six propositions implied by the meritocratic model of socioeconomic achievement and found the following: (1) the influence of family background on educational attainment, occupational status, and earnings has not fallen over time, nor has the effect of measured cognitive ability risen; (2) the principal impact of so-called meritocratic criteria (i.e., tested ability) is to connect men to their backgrounds, rather than to free them, while the effects of background are mediated principally by factors other than ability; (3) measured ability does affect adult standing, but socioeconomic success is determined principally by factors unrelated to cognitive ability; (4) superior ability does not function as a necessary prerequisite for desirable jobs; (5) the effects of education on occupational status and earnings cannot readily be explained by the relationship between education and measured ability; and (6) men with high test scores do not benefit from additional education more than men with low test scores, suggesting that the exclusion of low ability individuals from higher education cannot be justified on grounds of economic efficiency. (Author/EB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Univ., Madison. Inst. for Research on Poverty.