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Jim McCabe
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Prof. Becker is surely right that willfully foregoing a college degree in a terrible idea in this market. The unanswered question is whether or not subsidies to higher education have increased supply to the point where, as Terry notes, "college is the new high school," and therefore creates an expectation among employers that the minimally competent have checked the box of a college degree. There are many people performing jobs unrelated to their college studies who could easily have performed those jobs without the degree, with the only barrier being that they don't get the chance. We have an office manager (in her late 50's) who has had trouble in the labor market because she does not have a degree, but luckily, she gained experience at a time when a degree was not the golden ticket to the job market that it is today. I contend that subsidies have contributed to a dead-weight loss in expenditure on education by making degrees mandatory for jobs where they are not necessary, almost like occupational licensing on steroids.
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Feb 19, 2014