New Report: Fraternities Help Mediocrities Succeed

Dan Wang points to a recent paper which suggests that joining a fraternity in college reduces your GPA by 0.25 points but increases your future income by 36 percent. For various reasons, this is a weak result and I wouldn’t take it very seriously except as a possible spur to further research.

However, suppose it’s true. Here’s what the authors say:

Our results indicate that college administrators face an important trade-off when they consider policies designed to limit fraternity life on campus: while such policies may significantly raise academic performance, these gains may come at a significant cost in terms of expected future income for their graduates.

I’d argue exactly the opposite: this paper puts another nail in the coffin of fraternities and sororities and eating clubs and so forth. Allow me to reframe the authors’ conclusion:

Our results provide empirical evidence that fraternities are just another way for social elites to keep themselves at the top regardless of actual performance. Those rejected by fraternities, even though they have higher GPAs, earn 36 percent less than those accepted by fraternities. This is further evidence, if any were needed, that college administrators face few trade-offs when they consider policies designed to limit fraternity life on campus.

That’s my read, anyway. And I don’t even have any big heartburn one way or the other about fraternities.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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