Monday, July 4, 2016

UChicago Secrets:贏在射波前?

免費早餐 - 徐家健
UChicago Secrets:贏在射波前?
2016年06月29日
為呼籲英國留歐,有德國傳媒在脫歐公投日開出以下條件:只要英國決定留歐,下次踢波輸十二碼,德國承諾空龍俾你任射。公投結果顯示,過半英國人對「贏在射波前」不為所動。脫歐之後點睇?就像場波踢咗一半先話球例要重新定過一樣,只能放長雙眼睇。與其討論拆大台危中尋機,不如八卦睇大台萬千熄機。是的,「贏在射波前」是個比「脫歐之後點」更有學術討論價值的議題。
十年前,有人提出踢世界盃的球星多數是年頭出生的「大仔」,此人既非大台編導亦非怪獸港媽,他是我讀芝大時一位老師李維特(Steve Levitt)。當年,李維特在《紐約時報》這樣解釋過「贏在射波前」:
Since youth sports are organized by age bracket, teams inevitably have a cutoff birth date. In the European youth soccer leagues, the cutoff date is Dec. 31. So when a coach is assessing two players in the same age bracket, one who happened to have been born in January and the other in December, the player born in January is likely to be bigger, stronger, more mature. Guess which player the coach is more likely to pick? He may be mistaking maturity for ability, but he is making his selection nonetheless. And once chosen, those January-born players are the ones who, year after year, receive the training, the deliberate practice and the feedback—to say nothing of the accompanying self-esteem—that will turn them into elites.
翻譯成中文,會發覺與港媽Irene的台詞分別不大!贏在射波前,李維特其實在《Freakonomics》早有預告:by the time most people pick up a parenting book, it is far too late. Most of the things that matter were decided long ago — who you are, whom you married, what kind of life you lead. 言下之意,等到起腳射的一刻才想贏太遲了。
認識李維特的人都知道他眼光獨到,但亦有行家對他過於著重「出位」有微言。另一芝大老師赫曼(Jim Heckman)對李維特的不滿,在學校是公開秘密。從早年批判《The Bell Curve 》誇大「贏在射精前」,到近期推動「赫曼方程式」減少「輸在起跑線」,赫曼一直認為幫助弱勢兒童愈早愈好,但要幫得其法。兩年前他在白宮說得清楚:We should not underestimate the role of the parent and the power that comes from providing parents with information, resources and choice.主張為父母提供知識及資源改善子女成長環境,與《Freakonomics》的論調一比,兩位芝大教授不和原因又豈止言論出位。
究竟是「贏在起跑線」還是「贏在射精前」?這不只是《時代雜誌》最具影響力一百人與諾貝爾經濟學獎得主之間意見不同,更是幾百年來Nature vs. Nuture辯論一直爭拗的。然而,在大台討論區你只會看到「幼稚園唔收你個仔,似乎係因為見到個家長智障」一類的留言,從傳媒追訪的離地闊太口中,你亦只聽到「小朋友最緊要健康快樂成長」一類的風涼話。假如大台編導是電視界的李維特,我更期待電視界赫曼的出現,事關這不只是怪獸家長現象,更是跨代貧窮問題。
作者為香港亞太研究所經濟研究中心成員 美國克林信大學經濟系副教授及資訊經濟計劃附屬學者 http://www.facebook.com/economics3....
逢周一、三、五刊出

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