In a recent article in the NYTimes, it was reported that people who are bilingual do better on lots of different mental tests [h/t DF]. I'm not sure if it was the reporter or the researchers, but the implication throughout the article is that if you raise your children to be bilingual, they will be smarter; and if you, yourself, become fluent in a second language, you will be smarter.
My first reaction was to wonder whether the causation goes the other way. Surely, on average, smarter people find it easier to become fluent in an additional language.
This is almost surely a simultaneous equations estimation problem, and I wonder whether the researchers saw it that way. What are the determinants of IQ? What, if anything does bilingualism add to the determination of IQ? What are the determinants of bilingualism? Clearly geographic and demographic variables are important, but does IQ play a role?
Note: I am not bilingual. I studied Latin in high school and Russian as an undergrad, but I remember essentially nothing of them. I became minimally fluent in French many years ago, but didn't work at improving or even maintaining it.