Arnold Kling  

Explaining Inequality

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Nick Schulz and I write,
It might seem natural to pin the blame for the disappointing rate of high school graduation and college training on America's education system. However, Heckman and others find little evidence that education can reduce differences in cognitive skills that arise from genetic endowments and early childhood experience.
Read the whole thing. See also: Will Wilkinson's summary of a working paper that suggests that college graduates dissipate some of their higher salaries by congregating in high-cost cities. Me: they dissipate the rest by paying for their children's high-cost educations.

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COMMENTS (2 to date)
Isaac K. writes:

I what you are saying is true, then the individuals might not be better off monetarily for attaining a higher level of education, but the overall benefit to society is certainly greater for having more highly educated participants.

Just imagine, a society where people actually UNDERSTOOD the rudimentary implications of congressional actions, the federal deficit, tax cuts, and the incoming bailout.

I am wondering if this may make you change youe tune regarding the 'overabundance' of college education in the US.

Wil Owens writes:

Inequality brought about by families average income can never be regulated by the government in a free country. Even though the problem is starting at the base of the marriage because the wealthy educated people on average are only getting married to other wealthy educated people, and poor uneducated people are starting to only marry within their caste. The government will never have the right to step in and regulate who gets married in an effort to balance average income.
Another contributor to the vast difference in income amongst American families is the notion that the winner takes all. For example the best athlete gets all the money or the guy who makes the best invention will take all proceeds from the market he is inventing in, instead of that person working for a firm where they develop new technology but instead of the employee getting rich the firm makes all of the real money. The government can never stop these people’s free enterprise rights for making new inventions and it is not right to tax them more heavily because of their hard work.
Since the beginning of time and even before the development of education, there’s always been a caste system prevalent in society. Now that the range from rich to poor has grown so big the government thinks they can fix it, and it will never happen. I believe Arnold King said it best when he stated, “As much as inequality may be a problem, no real solution is in sight.”

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