Garett Jones

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Garett Jones

Garett Jones is an American economist and author. His research pertains to the fields of macroeconomics, monetary policy, IQ in relation to productivity,[1] short-term business cycles, and economic development. He is an associate professor at George Mason University and the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Jones was raised as a Mormon but left the church.[4] He completed a B.A. in history with a minor in sociology from Brigham Young University in 1992. He did an M.P.A. in public affairs at Cornell University in 1993, followed by an M.A. in political science at the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. Jones completed a Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, San Diego in 2000.

Academic career[edit]

After holding a number of visiting scholar and other academic positions, Jones joined the faculty of George Mason University in 2007.[5]

He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics.

Research on IQ and its role in productivity and economic growth[edit]

Jones started his research on IQ in a paper with Joel Schneider in 2006 that argued that IQ is a statistically significant explanatory variable of economic growth,[6] thus agreeing broadly with the thesis advanced by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in their book IQ and the Wealth of Nations. The chief observation that Jones made, and popularized, is that national IQs have much greater predictive power for individual earnings than individual IQ.

Jones' further research has been on identifying the causal mechanisms by which IQ might affect productivity and economic growth at a national level.[2] One mechanism posited by Jones is that smarter groups tend to be better at arriving at and enforcing norms of cooperation. Jones has used laboratory experiments involving repeated prisoner's dilemma, combined with the SAT scores of participants, to offer support for this hypothesis.[7] He has also suggested that patience and delayed gratification might offer an explanation.[8]

Jones has argued that certain sectors requiring very high quality work and with very low error-tolerance can only exist and thrive given access to a high-IQ population, because in such sectors, it is not possible to replace a single high-IQ worker by multiple low-IQ workers and achieve the same output. Jones informally dubs such sectors "O-Ring sectors", in contrast to "foolproof sectors", where a larger workforce of people with lower productivity can produce the same output as a smaller workforce of people with high productivity.[9]

Jones offers a summary of his and others' research on the relationship between IQ and national productivity in an article for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics.[10]

Research on money[edit]

Some of Jones' research has focused on the role of money, monetary policy, and mechanisms to reduce the risk of financial crisis.[2][11][12][13]


Jones wrote the book Hive Mind: How Your Nation's IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own, which builds on his research on the relationship between IQ and national productivity.[14] It was released in November 2015 by Stanford University Press.[15]

He was the editor of the book Banking Crises (2016), produced for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics.[16]

His book 10% Less Democracy: How Less Voting Could Mean Better Governance was published on February 7, 2020. It is based on a 2015 presentation.[17]

On November 15, 2022, Jones published The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move to a Lot Like the Ones They Left.[18]

Media appearances[edit]

Jones was a guest blogger for EconLog from September 2012 to April 2013.[2] He has given his opinion on macroeconomic policy and financial crises on CNBC and in various media clippings.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Garett Jones: A Very Intelligent Economist on Economics and Intelligence". The Economist. June 22, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d "Garett Jones". Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "Garett Jones". August 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "He Now Refers to Himself as a Post-Mormon".
  5. ^ Jones, Garett. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  6. ^ Jones, Garett; Schneider, W. Joel (2006). "Intelligence, Human Capital, and Economic Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach" (pdf). Journal of Economic Growth. 11 (1): 71–93. doi:10.1007/s10887-006-7407-2. ISSN 1381-4338. JSTOR 40216088. S2CID 14646928.
  7. ^ Jones, Garett (2008). "Are smarter groups more cooperative? Evidence from prisoner's dilemma experiments, 1959–2003". Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 68 (3–4): 489–497. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2008.06.010. ISSN 0167-2681.
  8. ^ Al-Ubaydli, Omar; Jones, Garett; Weel, Jaap (2013). "Patience, cognitive skill, and coordination in the repeated stag hunt". Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics. 6 (2): 71–96. doi:10.1037/npe0000005. ISSN 2151-318X. SSRN 1764272.
  9. ^ Jones, Garett (2013). "The O-ring sector and the Foolproof sector: An explanation for skill externalities" (PDF). Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 85: 1–10. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2012.10.014. ISSN 0167-2681.
  10. ^ Jones, Garett (2008). "IQ and national productivity" (PDF). The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. p. 1. doi:10.1057/9780230226203.3866. ISBN 9780333786765.
  11. ^ Jones, Garett. "On Money and Output: Is money redundant?".
  12. ^ Jones, Garett. "Dynamic IS Curves With and Without Money: An international comparison".
  13. ^ Jones, Garett. "Speed Bankruptcy: A Firewall to Future Crises" (PDF).
  14. ^ Jones, Garett (2015). Hive Mind: How Your Nation's IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-8596-9.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Jones, Garett, ed. (2016). Banking Crises. Palgrave Macmillan UK. doi:10.1057/9781137553799. ISBN 978-1-349-55412-6.
  17. ^[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ "The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move to a Lot Like the Ones They Left".
  19. ^ "Garett Jones discusses the Financial Crisis in Europe on CNBC Asia". Mercatus Center. June 26, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  20. ^ "Media Clippings by Garett Jones". Mercatus Center. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.

External links[edit]