National IQ is the Best Predictor of Economic Growth

National IQ is the Best Predictor of Economic Growth. By George Francis.

If you have heard of national IQ before then you have probably seen something like the graph below. National Intelligence has an extremely strong association with GDP per capita — roughly 70% of the variation in the wealth of nations can be explained by IQ alone. In fact, it has a very strong relationship with pretty much every national indicator for success.

This powerful, simple association poses two key questions:

Is the relationship causal? Is intelligence causing GDP?


If so, is this the best explanation of the wealth of nations?

Our new paper answers both questions with an emphatic yes. We find national IQ to be the most robust predictor of economic growth with the largest effect size, compared to +70 variables in the growth literature. And the cherry on top is that it is causally identified. …

There is a wealth of technical detail at the link, and the paper.

We tried all the robustness tests we could imagine — different time periods, different bayesian priors, different datasets (created by prestigious economists — we didn’t p-hack our own datasets), different national accounting (GDP) data, bootstrap resampling, jackknifing and many more. We also used different measures of national intelligence, Lynn’s, Becker’s, Rindermann’s, the World Bank’s and the OECD’s. You name a robustness test, we tried it. …

Across every single test, national IQ performed the best with on average the largest standardised coefficient and the largest posterior inclusion probability (PIP). …

The conclusion:

National IQ dominates the other tested variables … Each national IQ point was associated with a 7.8% increase in GDP per capita. …

We also use a published estimate of the decline in genotypic intelligence to crudely predict the effect of dysgenics on the economy. The GDP per capita of western countries could be around 80% higher in 2100 if we could stop dysgenics now.

Direction of causality:

So IQ has an extremely robust relationship with GDP. But in which way does the causality go …Perhaps we have instead discovered that GDP very powerfully improves intelligence? That would be an interesting discovery too.

Nonetheless, we think our estimates very accurately measure a causal effect of IQ on GDP. For one, national IQs can almost be perfectly predicted (r = .9) from polygenic scores (EDU3) designed to estimate educational attainment.

Although genetic prediction is currently far from perfect, the results are also far too strong to be coincidental. Even though environmental improvements could increase national IQ scores, the environment is itself a product of genes. Overall, it looks like national IQ nicely captures approximately static genetic differences in intelligence. …

Diamond and oil-rich countries are no smarter than their neighbors.

IQ is the kryptonite of leftism.

Also see Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own by Garret Jones.