The paper in question is the latest from the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce and the case, naturally, is that America needs to get lots more people through college or else the economy will suffer from a shortage of skilled workers. In today's Clarion Call, I take a look at one of its major arguments -- that college is "worth it" because of the alleged "wage premium" that those with college education enjoy. The trouble is that those average earnings statistics tell us nothing about individuals at the margin. There are lots of college grads these days who work at pretty mundane, low-pay jobs, and the evidence in the paper even shows that considerable number of people in the lowest two earnings quintiles have college degrees. Alas, the authors entirely overlook the significance of those data. That's why I entitled my piece "This Paper Refutes Itself."
- August 04, 2010