Where does an average kid born in a low income family end up?
I. In other words, richer the family you are born in, more likely that you end up earning more.
Point to note: Economic profile of the family you are born in matters for your success. It is a matter of privilege. If you are hardworking and have ability but are born in a rich family, your chances of success are higher compared to a similarly hardworking person but born in a low mobility area.
Role of environment — surroundings
II. If you are rich it doesn’t matter where you are born. If you are poor, living in a low mobility neighbourhood hurts you more relative to the poor living in a high mobility neighbourhoods.
III. If a family moves from a low mobility area to a high mobility area, it positively impacts the future earnings of the kid.
Further, the benefits are larger if the migration happens when the kid is younger. Each year of exposure to high mobility areas has impact on the future earnings of the kid.
Being born in a high mobility neighbourhood is a privilege and a matter of luck, and that very neighbourhood factor plays a role in success as defined by earnings.
If you are hardworking and have ability but are born in low mobility areas, your chances of success are lower compared to a similarly hardworking person but born in a high mobility area.
Role of exposure on innovation
- Kids born in high income families are 10 times more likely to hold a patent
- High ability students (as measured by their test scores in schools) among rich have higher likelihood to have a patent as compared to high ability students in poor families
Note the influence of economic profile of parents on the chances of success
- Kids born in a family where parents have a patent are more likely to hold a patent.
- Kids are more likely to inventor in the same field as your parents
- Kids likely to grow up as innovators where they grow up near universitiesor industries — University of Texas, Silicon Valley
- Geography effect: Kids in Minneapolis (famous for medical device manufacturing) are more likely to have medical patent. Kids born in Silicon Valley more likely to have computer patent
The likelihood to innovate and the areas one choose to innovate in, are primarily by exposure rather than ability.
What about India?
In India — Rural vs. Urban, Boy vs. Girl, Caste, Parental income significantly influence one’s odds of success.
In other words, being born as a dalit or ST girl in a remote village will almost reduce your odds of becoming a software engineer to zero!
It means that a person who does same amount of hardwork and has the same ability has lower chances to succeed if that person is born in a low income family (in a low mobility neighbourhood), as compared to a similar person born in a rich family, in a high mobility neighbourhood and has good childhood exposure.
The family one is born in, the area one is born are a sheer matter of luck and is a matter of privilege. These factors of luck significantly drive one’s success, as shown above.
- we assert that our success is solely due to our hard work and ability and;
- argue for a purely meritocratic distribution.
You are successful only because you are standing on shoulders of huge privileges which amplify your hard work and ability. Without those privileges, mere hard work and ability may not take you farther.