Monday, April 25, 2011

Lucky Duckies

Over to Crooked Timber they're discussing the role of luck versus merit in economic success. In the comments, some one argues that
You have got to be kidding [about luck being more important merit]. If my parents push me to work harder at school, surely I can take at least some credit for rewriting essays while other kids are watching TV? 
 This is true if and only if you are the onliest person in the cohort of people who applied for your job who "merited" it. There are almost always more applicants then there are positions, something that is truer now then ever. The person who gets the job all those others want is the most meritorious but rather the one who got lucky that the hiring committee/individual picked them rather than the other equally qualified and meritorious applicants, or even one who was less so but went to a better school or what have you. It's luck all the way done.

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