HKS Dissertation on Immigration and I.Q. Draws Criticism

“Key terms are poorly defined, auxiliary assumptions abound, and the literature I’m familiar with that is cited as authoritative is, well, not good,” wrote Tufts University professor Daniel W. Drezner in a Foreign Policy blog post.

A number of petition signatories read Richwine’s thesis and said they found numerous errors and missteps, which they brought to Ellwood’s attention during a recent meeting, according to Malhotra.

Since the beginning of the controversy, the Heritage Foundation has distanced itself from the former staffer and from his contentious academic work.

“The Harvard paper is not a work product of The Heritage Foundation. Its findings do not reflect the positions of The Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations,” wrote Mike Gonzalez, vice president for communications at The Heritage Foundation, in a statement earlier this month.

—Staff writer Maya Jonas-Silver contributed to the reporting of this story.


—Staff writer Steven R. Watros can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SteveWatros.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification and corrections:


An earlier version of this article stated that Jason M. Richwine’s controversial dissertation was a Harvard Kennedy School Ph.D. thesis. To clarify, while the thesis was approved by Kennedy School faculty, Richwine's degree was conferred by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

CORRECTIONS: May 30, 2013

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the dissertation claimed that Hispanics and other ethnic groups should be restricted from immigrating to the United States. In fact, the thesis claims that people who have low IQs—a demographic that Richwine claims is disproportionately Hispanic or of other non-white or non-Asian ethnicities—should face immigration restrictions. The article also incorrectly stated that Richwine used data from his Harvard dissertation to coauthor a Heritage Foundation paper. In fact, the two papers are unrelated, according to Richwine.