The Corner

College Math

David Leonhardt writes, “The gap between the pay of college graduates and everyone else has grown sharply over the last three decades, reaching a new all-time high last year, which suggests that workers with a degree are too scarce a resource. There may indeed be a natural ceiling on how many college graduates a society should produce, but the United States does not appear close to it.”

Perhaps the conclusion is correct, but the reasoning seems too simple. If the pay gap is in large part the result of differences between the types of people who tend to finish college and everyone else — for example, that the former are smarter and today’s economy places a high premium on intelligence — then it might not make sense to get more people to go to college. (As I discuss a bit more here.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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