Sunday , August 25 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Economics of Education

Tag Archives: Economics of Education

Tyler Cowen’s Failed Critique of Cuts in State Funding

While I was on vacation up at my cottage in Canada, Tyler Cowen wrote a piece on the Bloomberg site that made a case for not cutting taxpayer subsidies to Alaska’s universities. The most striking thing about his piece is that he doesn’t really make much of a case. When economists argue for a subsidy, they generally point to some way in which the market has failed. Tyler doesn’t. Actually, he comes close to doing so at one point. In his last paragraph, he writes: The...

Read More »

The Case Against Education: Now in Paperback

The Case Against Education is now in paperback, with a new Afterword by yours truly.  Highlights from the Afterword: My earlier work (Caplan 2007) maintains that when economists and the public disagree, the economists are usually right.  The Case Against Education, however, focuses on a rare topic where economists and the public are on the same page.  The sad result, in my view, is that economists end up rationalizing popular errors rather than correcting them.  Not...

Read More »

Letter from an “Anti-School Teacher”

I recently received this email from a self-styled “anti-school teacher.”  Reprinted unchanged with permission of the author, Samuel Mosley. Dear Professor Caplan, My name is Samuel Mosley. I studied economics at Beloit College, my advisor was a former graduate student of yours, Laura Grube. I recently read The Case Against Education and it explained so much of what I see. Like many new graduates who do not know exactly what they want to do but want to do something...

Read More »

Senator Elizabeth Warren: Help the Relatively Rich by Taxing Everyone

Despite her best intentions and her description of the plan as progressive, a quick analysis finds the [Senator Elizabeth] Warren proposal to be regressive, expensive, and full of uncertainties. As I show below, the top 20 percent of households receive about 27 percent of all annual savings, and the top 40 percent about 66 percent. The bottom 20 percent of borrowers by income get only 4 percent of the savings. Borrowers with advanced degrees represent 27 percent of...

Read More »

Rate My Professor as Evidence for Education Signaling

Often, when I get curious about an economist I hear about or who asks me to friend him (I’ll use “him” to stand for “him/her”) on Facebook, I do a Google search and his ratings on “Rate My Professor” show up. So I often go to the ratings to see what students say. I know I’m getting a biased sample for which the particular biases are unknown but, still, it’s some information. After having done this for over 5 years, I’ve realized something that I should’ve realized...

Read More »

The $60K Rafting Guide

Like the students in Jared Lucas’s class, I have been thinking a lot about Bryan Caplan’s insights on schooling in The Case Against Education. I got to about page 120 and then my plane landed, but I read it the way I read every book I write a review on: every page and every footnote. And my reaction to it is similar to, though less extreme than, the way Robert E. Lucas thinks about economic growth: Is there some action a government of India could take that would lead...

Read More »

Letter from a Teachers’ Teacher

I recently received this email from Jared Lucas, who teaches a class for aspiring teachers. Reprinted with his permission. Hello Mr. Caplan, My name is Jared Lucas, and I teach American Government as well as a seminar class for students wanting to become future teachers. I teach at a vocational school in Newark, OH. While in college, I listened to your lecture when you came to Bowling Green State University, spoke with you briefly afterwards, and have since...

Read More »

Change the culture

The recent college admissions scandal has received a lot of attention. Unfortunately, there’s a great deal of confused thinking on this issue. Here’s the NYT, discussing the criticism received by parents who bribed college officials: The playwright David Mamet, the couple’s friend and collaborator of many decades, sprang to their defense in an open letter urging people to hate the game of corrupt college admissions rather than hate these players, whose parental...

Read More »

Guerrilla Education at Princeton: Letter from a Dad

The admissions scandal seems to have revived interest in my 2018 Los Angeles Times op-ed.  Highlight from the original piece: Almost everyone pays lip service to the glories of education, but actions speak louder than words. Ponder this: If a student wants to study at Princeton, he doesn’t really need to apply or pay tuition. He can simply show up and start taking classes. As a professor, I assure you that we make near-zero effort to stop unofficial education; indeed,...

Read More »

Are economics textbooks too expensive?

Greg Mankiw has an interesting article that discusses the teaching of basic economics. This caught my eye: A common argument used to explain the high price of textbooks involves the principal agent problem between student and instructor. The instructor chooses the book, often oblivious to its price. The student has little choice but to buy the book. As a result, the publisher has substantial market power and sets the price much above cost, resulting in exorbitant...

Read More »