The continuing strength of public beliefs in human-capital arguments

This afternoon Andy Rotherham’s blog entry highlighted unusually high agreement in a Lake Research survey with a generic statement about the economic rationale for improving high school academics. I’ve been sitting on some thoughts about Tyler Cowen, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, John Marsh, and others, but the general pattern here should not surprise anyone. Americans continue to have faith in formal schooling.

What may surprise observers is the maintenance of extraordinarily strong beliefs in the economic importance of education through the last few years of the Lesser Depression and its aftermath/continuance. The question Rotherham highlighted was about high school education; I would be very curious to see what the response would be to a parallel question with “college(s)” substitute for “high school(s).”

One response to “The continuing strength of public beliefs in human-capital arguments”

  1. Glen S. McGhee

    Does this represent a change in your thinking about the human capital argument for schooling? Now it is (just) a “belief”?

    In so far as we frequently discuss charts and graphs here, I wonder if it is possible to adapt the chart below to depict human capital ACCUMULATION versus its UTILIZATION, and in the same graph, social capital like monopoly money at the start of life, and its utilization. What do you think?

    Then, we should compare the graphs of US educational system with the dual system in Germany. The contrasts would be dramatic, even for various segments of the population, and show us where we are headed (I think).