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UC Davis Study Concludes H-1B Workers Neither Best Nor Brightest

m2943 Re:Bogus (353 comments)

So you think an economic question like this cannot be analyzed by objective statistical data.

That's a question of mathematics: there are many questions that provably cannot be answered using objective statistical data.

As a proponent of H-1B's, how would you make the argument? Subjectively? Good luck.

Against Matloff? That's easy: Matloff wants to limit labor mobility in order to increase salaries in his profession and, taken at face value, his own data suggests that limiting H-1B visas would accomplish that. That alone is sufficient economic reason to increase, rather than decrease, H-1B visa quotas.

Matloff publishes in peer reviewed CS journals, and this debate is a sideline of his.

According to Google Scholar, Matloff hasn't published in peer reviewed CS journals for half a decade. What a joke.

about 2 years ago

UC Davis Study Concludes H-1B Workers Neither Best Nor Brightest

m2943 Re:Bogus (353 comments)

A straw man? It's a claim made by H-1B proponents. ... In other words, like the infamous phrase "best and brightest", Matloff is guilty of rebutting the arguments of the proponents using exactly the terminology that they use. Once more: complain to the proponents.

There are many arguments people make for H-1B visas, some relevant and some not relevant. Matloff choosees to rebut irrelevant arguments, hence he is picking a straw man. Even if his statistical analysis were sound, it would be irrelevant.

Then please give us some plausible scenarios, without which your argument is hand waving.

You seriously claim to be a statistician, and you can't figure this out yourself? Let's leave that discussion to peer review, shall we?

There is almost no mention (and none from you) of what a better way to do this analysis would be.

That's like saying "what's a better analysis of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin"; the premises of Matloff's analysis themselves are wrong, so there is no better way of doing the analysis (that is in addition to the fact that his analysis is also wrong from a statistical point of view).

"Wealth of the nation"? Such a brilliantly precise term from someone who called "shortage" ambiguous. What the hell does "wealth of the nation" mean?

It was an allusion to Adam Smith's classical work "The Wealth of Nations"; look there for what I mean by the term. Furthermore, I don't have to be precise, I'm not publishing a paper. I don't pretend that there is objective statistical data that can answer this question, Matloff does. He needs to make his case.

about 2 years ago

UC Davis Study Concludes H-1B Workers Neither Best Nor Brightest

m2943 Re:Bogus (353 comments)

While he's currently a CS prof, he used to be a statistics prof, and it shows. He uses hard data properly analyzed

As an immigrant and someone who does data analytics professionally, I have to say: his analysis is logically, statistically, economically, and legally unsound. (Note that his report hasn't even been peer reviewed.)

It is logically unsound because, among other things, it starts with the premise that for the H-1b program to be desirable or economically valid, its workers should be, on average, "better and brighter" than US workers (a straw man), and because it uses arbitrary and unvalidated measures of quality.

It is statistically unsound because he infers that foreign workers are "less bright" than American workers because the "foreign" attribute correlates negatively with measures such as salaries and number of patents; however, it is easy to construct scenarios for which such negative correlations exist even if the workers are objectively still "brighter" than US workers. Inferring that populations of foreign workers are "less bright" based on his statistical analysis is incorrect.

It is economically unsound because he keeps arguing in terms of a "labor shortage"; while such a fuzzy term is often being used to justify H-1b visas politically, it makes little sense as the basis of an economic argument either way. And if one wanted to argue in terms of a "labor shortage", a labor shortage for low-skilled tech workers would be as important economically as a shortage of "the best and the brightest".

Matloff also argues for trying to create an artificial scarcity of workers in his profession by restricting admission of foreign workers. This has a long history in economics. Its effect is to benefit members of that profession, while making everybody else economically worse off. But if H-1b workers do the same work as Americans at a lower salary and free the best and brightest Americans to work in higher paid professions, that is a good thing from an economic point of view and for the wealth of the nation.

Finally, legally, he postulates the existence of "green card indenture", but in practice both H-1b and green card workers frequently experience only brief periods where they can't change employers.

And if Matloff (and let's not beat around the bush, "ebno-10eb" is Matloff) claims having been a statistics professor as credentials in order to lend weight to his arguments, the inference from that is not that his argument is stronger, but that he must have been a pretty poor professor of statistics.

There is some common ground is that if we limit immigration at all, we should limit it to those most valuable to the economy. One way of doing that would be to simply auction off a fixed quota of employment-based H-1b and green card slots to the highest bidders each year. That way, we don't need to get into silly debates as to who is needed, or who is not getting paid enough, and people like Matloff don't get to abuse the immigration system to achieve higher salaries for their preferred profession.

about 2 years ago

UK to Ban Possession of Certain 'Violent' Pornography

m2943 Re:Why? (557 comments)

I'm wondering what other images will become illegal because they elicit violence...

In Germany (bastion of free speech that it is), any speech that is "capable of disturbing the public peace" is forbidden. Insulting someone is also prohibited by law. You also can't insult the "organs and representatives of foreign states" (so no talking about Dick's you-know-what). You also may not insult any faith.

For other restrictions, see here:


more than 6 years ago


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