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Cognitive Ability (IQ), Education Quality, Economic Growth, Human Migration: Implications from a Sociobiological Paradigm of Global Economic Inequality

Benjamin Wong

Published: 2007/09/01


Modernization theories propose that third world developing nations will eventually undergo a transformational process where they will go from traditional agrarian societies to industrialized ones, eventually reaching the development levels of Western, first world nations. It remains to be explained why industrialization has worked for only a small handful of European and Pacific Rim countries and has failed for most other nations of the world in South Asia, the Pacific Islands, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. The 2007 World Bank Report Education Quality and Economic Growth demonstrates that education quality and cognitive skills, measured by international standardized test scores, are stronger predictors for national economic growth than educational quantity, measured by years of schooling and enrollment rates. This paper summarizes key findings of the World Bank report and finds that the intelligence quotient (IQ) is highly correlated with international standardized test scores and other indices that complement income levels as indicators of national well-being. As IQ is substantially heritable, blunt strategies directed at simple resource expansions or institutional changes are unlikely to be effective at reducing disparities in international cognitive skills. Imminent workable solutions geared towards reducing global economic inequalities continue to remain elusive. Implications from the consequences of global inequality are discussed in the context of 21st century human migration in the West and Northeast Asia.

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