Must-read: John Quiggin: “Education: An Investment, Not a Filter”

Must-Read:John Quiggin: Education: An Investment, Not a Filter: “Implicit in this statement is the ‘screening’ theory of education…

…The idea that doing a degree might equip you with useful specific knowledge, or with general skills in reasoning, writing and so on, doesn’t get mentioned…. However, the long-term evidence is clear: in Australia, as everywhere else in the world, the wage premium for graduates has remained large enough to make going to university a very good decision, even as the proportion of young people undertaking university education has risen from a tiny minority in the mid-20th century to around 40 per cent today. One interpretation of this is that, over the past century or more, the entire world has been engaged in more and more elaborate screening for no good reason. A more plausible explanation is that technological change has eliminated the kinds of jobs that used to employ kids with a Year 10 education (the median level of achievement when I was young), and replaced them with jobs that need the skills (specific and general) of a university graduate. There’s every reason to think that these trends will continue in the future, so we are going to need more education not less…

January 28, 2016


Brad DeLong
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