Monday, December 15, 2008

Multiplicative models and order statistics

Posted by Danny Tarlow
First, let's assume that success in some endeavor is distributed as the product of talent in several relevant characteristics (e.g., musical performance success can be modeled as the product of talent in musical thinking, physical coordination, and dedication to practice). Then, I want to ask how we can explain different tails of distributions that could correspond to success in high-powered jobs. We know that the top level success variable will not be normally distributed, even if the underlying traits are. How would Larry Summers's arguments change by assuming a multiplicative model instead of the simple Gaussian model that his calculations are based on?

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