The Growing College Premium

For a whole bunch of reasons I think it’s smart and necessary for American society and public policy to do more to advance alternatives to traditional college as a means to securing recognized credentials of advanced skills. That said, I think the notion that you sometimes hear bandied about that expanding the number of Americans with college degrees would have no value is extremely pernicious. The proof, as David Leonhardt pointed out yesterday, is clearly there in the large and growing college wage premium:


This isn’t all there is to say about inequality in the United States of America, but it’s part of what there is to say about it. What’s more, it suggests a substantial overall inefficiency—demand for the skills that college graduates have is growing faster than the supply. Increasing the number of high-skill Americans by increasing the number of people who finish college will do enormous good for the majority of people.

See also Kevin Carey on this.