By Russ Roberts
Here is my postmortem on the Caplan episodeBryan is a great debater and reasoner. Is he right on this issue? I don’t know but he’s provocative. I’d like to talk to someone on the other side who interprets the data differently. It’s a topic I hope to come back to.
Education is an easy topic to argue about partly because we’ve all gone to school and tend to think our experiences can help us understand what it accomplishes. But it’s also possible that our experiences fool us. Just because I can’t remember one moment from my 7th grade English class does not mean it had no impact. And the many moments I remember from my 8th grade class with Miss Kineen at Muzzey Junior High may still not capture the full effect that class had on me.
I don’t know if I mentioned it or emphasized it in the discussion, but financial return is not the only purpose of schooling. Wish we had discussed that in more detail.
The other point I wish I’d made is that the 83% number appears to be the raw premium of college education over high school education. The way Bryan describes it, it seems just to be a ratio of two averages. If that’s true it does not correct for age, sex, experience or anything else. I’ll try to find out from Bryan if I have that right.