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The Merit of Marshmallows

Let them eat marshmallows! It turns out the famous marshmallow test of willpower – the association between how long preschoolers can resist one marshmallow now for the promise of two later and higher test scores and earnings – did not replicate. Once the sample expanded beyond Stanford’s faculty daycare, and controls for parental social class and child characteristics were included, the effect of delayed gratification was much reduced.

But why did people take such psychological ideas so...

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Social immobility and anti-immigrant sentiment

Freedom of movement is a central pillar of the European Union – and the one that British voters rejected in the referendum. Sophie Moullin argues that we need to recognise why some people – particularly the white working-class – do not want to move, and resent being told that migrants work harder than they do. But this instinct is not something we should accept as laudable or even inevitable. It stems from deep inequalities in British society.

‘Sheffield’, he echoed with a snort, when I said where I was from.

Someone tried to...

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Elite graduate student struggles are not class struggles

Over the weeks that Harvard's dining workers were on strike, some Princeton graduate students decided they wanted the opportunity to threaten to do so, too. A small group is seeking unionization, and it is the threat of strikes – the deployment of “economic weapons,” as labor law puts it – that gives them their negotiating power. But if Princeton graduate students were to strike, it could only be for a small portion of their time, and could only...

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