"The influence of politics and policy is usually swamped by the influence of culture, ethnicity, psychology and a dozen other factors....If you combine the influence of ethnicity and region, you get astounding lifestyle gaps. The average Asian-American in New Jersey lives an amazing 26 years longer and is 11 times more likely to have a graduate degree than the average American Indian in South Dakota.
When you try to account for life outcome differences this gigantic, you find yourself beyond narrow economic incentives and in the murky world of social capital. What matters are historical experiences, cultural attitudes, child-rearing practices, family formation patterns, expectations about the future, work ethics and the quality of social bonds....So when we’re arguing about politics, we should be aware of how policy fits into the larger scheme of cultural and social influences. Bad policy can decimate the social fabric, but good policy can only modestly improve it...Most of the proposals we argue about so ferociously will have only marginal effects on how we live, especially compared with the ethnic, regional and social differences that we so studiously ignore."
Here's the article, full of good supporting research and details.
And yes, the first post in a while. I think I finally found something I want to use it for. I'd love to have discussions about the things I post here and intend to respond quickly to comments that contain a question.