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Author: Farnworth, Margaret Ann
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Farnworth, Margaret Ann
Meritocracy and Success: The Role of I.Q. in Processes of Achievement and Social Allocation
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Georgia, 1981. DAI-A 42/05, p. 2303, Nov 1981
Cohort(s): Young Men
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Earnings; Educational Attainment; I.Q.; Occupational Attainment

In the 'meritocratic' view of modern industrial society, differential merit and ability reflected in individual IQ scores are proposed to be important determinants of achievement and social allocation. The present analysis examines the relationship between IQ and each of the 'three major axes of social differentiation': education, occupation, and income. Social background influences on differential social placement are controlled in analyses of IQ effects on each of these outcomes. The relative importance of IQ and background are estimated in multivariate regression analyses of social allocation process. The 'meritocratic' interpretation of stratification processes is assessed on the basis of the significance of IQ differences for each outcome and the strength of the IQ effect evaluated relative to the effects of selected social background factors. Models in the analysis of educational processes include an array of five measures representing educational outcomes. Findings are found to vary considerably according to which measure of education is employed as the dependent variable. Failure to identify a predominant and consistent IQ effect throughout processes of educational allocation is nonsupportive of the meritocratic ideal of social equalization through education. Moreover, evidence for apparent social bias is identified at some points. For example, 'screening for ability' is found to be invoked selectively at certain stages according to social origin differences. Such screening effects are more pronounced for the sons of blue-collar workers than for white-collar offspring. In addition, it is found that 'IQ screening for ability' is not the sole or primary factor in track allocation. Social background is slightly more important than IQ for that early and influential educational allotment. This sort of evidence suggests that educational processes may not only fail to correct for social inequalities in the greater society, but may also operate to augment such inequalities. In the analysis of occupational processes, the most interesting outcomes involved the powerful direct effect of education. The meritocracy principle holds that ability combined with education results in 'developed ability' for job performance and level of occupation. Findings here indicate that a large portion of the education effect occurs apart from its joint effect with IQ. This is contrary to meritocracy predictions about the manner in which education operates to mediate IQ effects on occupation. The major value of the analysis of processes affecting the distribution of income may lie in the questions it raised rather than the answers it provided. Findings do not indicate support for the thesis of meritocracy in the determination of income. Neither do findings suggest support for the critical position which attributes significance in stratification processes to social background. This absence of substantive findings poses a major question for ongoing research, viz.: what factors are significant to explain income differentials in the early careers of young white males? The absence of evidence either for or against meritocracy in the determination of income is interpreted conservatively, however, since it appeared that sample and data limitations may have intruded at this point in the analysis to confound the identification of IQ, social background, education, or occupation effects. Conclusions suggest that the meritocracy thesis of educational processes fails to find support in the present study. Assessment of the meritocracy principle as it relates to occupational and economic outcomes is tentative pending further analysis which includes outcomes at later career stages. In the light of these findings, directions for further research are suggested.
Bibliography Citation
Farnworth, Margaret Ann. Meritocracy and Success: The Role of I.Q. in Processes of Achievement and Social Allocation. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Georgia, 1981. DAI-A 42/05, p. 2303, Nov 1981.