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college and lifetime income

6/27/2011: From the David Leonhart NYT piece (thanks to Presumably the increasing payoffs to college arise from the fact that the economic payoff to being able to explain the difference between correlation and causation to your boss peaks at age 50.


  1. Anonymous 06/27/2011

    Causation or mere correlation, or some combination of both, I don’t know, but looking at a graph like that, if I were starting out, I’d think long and hard before skipping college.

    There seems to be a minor industry in being skeptical about the value of college. I notice that most of these skeptics themselves have advanced degrees. And I don’t see many of their kids going off to truck driving or plumbing school, or going the vocational routes at LCC.

  2. Anonymous 06/27/2011

    Then again, you could get the BA and go into work in higher education (particularly at the UO). Looks like my BA bought me a career at what the average 30 year old ears with a BA. Too bad I’m 57. sigh

  3. Anonymous 06/29/2011

    Dog points out oversimplification of the reported data in three respects.

    1. If the average college graduate, graduates with 25-30K in debt, that needs to be factored into to the data.

    2. In the real world now, it is much harder for
    a college graduate to immediately get into a job which will have a 30 year career.

    3. The proper way to report this data is by
    cohort. That is, if you looked at the data for
    all college graduates that graduated, in say, 1985 and compared their earnings to those that
    graduate from high school (1980-81) and didn’t go to college, that might look very different than if you did that for more recent years. If there is no difference then I absolute agree that going to college is worth it. Dog is now in the skeptical tank (even tho dog has two puppies in college) and largely believes that college no longer properly prepares students for the real world or that the real world gives a shit about college education or not.

    Note: Despite all this academic claptrap rhetoric about the value of “critical thinking” (which is beyond this dog’s ability anyway) – I certainly don’t believe that college is producing better prepared or responsible citizens.

    and for a better look at recent trends I refer you to this graph:

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