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L'Esprit de l'Escalier: May 10, 2013

Department of "Huh!?": George Borjas Says Richard Zeckhauser Chaired Jason Richwine's Thesis Committee?

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Jennifer Rubin:

What the anti-immigrant movement really believes: I received the following e-mail attack from Borjas, who, keep in mind, is a Harvard professor:

Someone copied me on an email that contained your column trashing Jason Richwine’s dissertation work, and along the way you decided to trash me as well. Just for your info, the dissertation committee was formed of Richard Zeckhauser (who, by the way, was the chair of the committee), Christopher (Sandy) Jencks, a very influential sociologist whose lifetime work on inequality you may perhaps be familiar with, and myself. Perhaps next time around before you decide to trash anyone who disagrees with your ideological musings you may want to do some background reporting. I know that this request will fall on deaf ears, since it is not part of the modus operandi of people like yourself, but I would hope you correct the record in print. (I actually know you won’t since once the membership of the committee of faculty who advised Jason on his dissertation is well known you can no longer employ the by-association method of character assassination).

I replied: “On the contrary, your email is illuminating and I will do a follow-up. A few more questions: 1) Do Hispanics have lower IQ’s than whites and is there a genetic component; 2) do illegal immigrants now in the country have lower IQ’s than native born Americans; 3) should the U.S. significantly reduce all forms of immigration; 4) rather than legalize those here illegally should they be deported so as to protect native born Americans’ standard of living; and 5) would your conclusion about deporting illegal immigrants be different if they were from Western European countries?”

In several more exchanges he refused to answer my specific questions, saying at one point, “It’s hard to take your questions seriously since you are so unfamiliar with my work.” He even claimed not to have an opinion about the dissertation on which he was an adviser (“not my thesis”)…