New Evidence on the Impact of College

by George Leef

Writing on the Chronicle’s Innovations blog, Rich Vedder shows that when you compare nations that have high rates of college “attainment” with those having relatively low rates, you find that — contrary to what you’d expect from listening to the higher-ed establishment — economic growth is stronger in the latter.

That finding buttresses the argument Alison Wolf made in her book Does Education Matter? She concluded that a national emphasis on college completion was neither necessary nor sufficient for increasing national prosperity. People ought to stop thinking of higher education as a sound economic-development strategy. It isn’t.