Bryan Caplan  

The Case Against Education: The EconTalk Podcast

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Russ Roberts' EconTalk episode on my new book is out.  In a world that prized substance as well as style, Russ would be the household name. 

For me, the highlight was trying to convince Russ of the great value of objective testing.  If you're teaching something existing tests can't detect, write a better test!  But if you're teaching something no conceivable test can detect, you probably aren't teaching anything at all.

Thanks again to Russ for a thrilling interview!




COMMENTS (4 to date)
Rajat writes:

I'm not an academic, but I use my (undergraduate) economics degree as an industry economist nearly every day - and I remember a fair bit of at least the key intuition and takeaways about the various basic models I was taught from 25 years ago. Is your main point that 90% of the workforce does not fall into this category?

Dan D writes:

@Rajat I am a CPA, and the coursework I did in college is highly relevant to my day to day job. However, the four years I spent in college could have easily been turned into one year of intensive study of accounting and finance, with the CPA exam waiting for me at the end of that year. And ultimately so much of what I do as a professional accountant was developed on the job. Upshot, how much does one year of additional study add value compared to a year as CPA on the job?

Point being - even if some coursework is relevant, it doesn't justify the four year slog from a human capital perspective, even when college majors are relevant to careers. I.e. even in the hard case of majors relevant to careers, much of it is a "waste of time and money." (to borrow from Dr. Caplan's new book!).

robc writes:

Dan D,

Agreed. I think my engineering degree is on the high end of human capital, and it is maybe 50%.

Amy Willis writes:

We also posted some questions for thought at EconTalk, including pressing Bryan's issue of testing, here: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2018/02/learning_how_no.html

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