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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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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