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July 24, 2006

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dearieme

"survey": see above, where some wise fellow alludes to biased sample fallacy. I'll bet you're right: there are people who think of education purely as a positional good. But 31%? It could be 1% or 91% for all I know. You've read the pdf? The authors' first survey, they tell us, was of faculty, staff and students at Harvard School of Public Health. Well, you know the sort of lefties who accumulate in American Unis, so perhaps it's really quite fair to disparage them? Wait. The technique adopted for the second survey is a rather brilliant cross between a chain letter and a conversation with some chaps you met in a pub. Nowhere do they tell us (or deeply do they hide it) what their response rates are. In other words, we've already seen that the samples whom they questionned are not remotely likely to be random samples of the US public; we also now see that we have no idea how representative their respondents are of these (presumably) biased samples, so there's a second layer of bias. Add to that the inevitable doubt about the validity of an answer to a questionnaire as faithful to someone's real views, and the evidence is such that you'd not hang even a Harvard man on. Bah! If I may say so, this is what I mean when I say that in the Social Sciences, data is the plural of bollock. P.S. their arithmetic is wrong too. P.P.S. Toni Blair is a loathsome wee twat.

Henry Male

But the London Oratory IS a state school.

dearieme

Henry, I think that crafty Mr S & M avoided using words like "state school": his point was more about privilege than who owned the premises. Entry to The Oratory, rather than the local comprehensives, is a matter of privilege. If you add to that the hiring of private tutors who just happen to be teachers at Westminster - very much not a state school - I think he has made a decent case that Blair has avoided the pleb schools to the maximium extent that an ambitious Labour politician could. Just wait until he's out of office and see which schools young Leo is sent to - that might be revealing. Perhaps parents who travel internationally a lot will see the merits in a boarding school?

Paulie

I'd prefer the 'bureau shaping' model of bureaucracy to public choice theory miself...

Have a look here:
http://www.politicalreviewnet.com/polrev/reviews/PADM/R_0033_3298_169_1005270.asp

(this isn't fantastic - it's the best I can find online quickly though)

It suggests that you can't lump politicians and bureaucrats in with each other in the way that public choice theorists do.

And I can go for that. The belief that they are indistinguishable is the basis only for despair in my view. And that is the worst sin of all.

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