A controversial economics expert suggests that investing in college degrees is not worth it
As noted by World Bank reports, higher education is a determining factor in reducing the poverty and inequality of a nation. However, a controversial writer and professor of economics at George Mason University, Virginia, argues that entering college is a "waste of time and money" and does not ensure a better future for the youth or for the system.
Leer en español: Educación superior: ¿Éxito asegurado o pérdida de dinero?
Bryan Caplan is the name of the teacher who defends the controversial signaling. In his new book, 'The argument against education', Caplan explains why university degrees have become a fraud and how society would improve if less investment were done in education, both from governments and within families.
"Much of what is taught to students in college will be useless after the final exam." This is indicated by Caplan in an interview for the American Enterprise Institute, adding that the majority of postgraduate graduates do not have a working life in the area studied and that nations have only created a system where a university diploma is required to perform jobs that do not require specialized technical knowledge, nor shall they be remunerated in the way that a title would merit.
However, the evidence of studies carried out by organizations such as the World Bank demonstrates the opposite. According to data released by an investigation of the University of Georgetown of the United States, students who complete their higher education can earn during their professional life up to 84% more than what would earn a person who only finished secondary school.
According to the aforementioned analysis, a degree in Georgetown, considered one of the most expensive universities in the US, costs an average of $ 270,000 dollars, but it would be worth up to 11 times its price in profit, since the individual could earn 3 million dollars throughout his life.
For Caplan, these figures are only the consequence of a counterproductive strategy for societies. As explained by the expert during an interview in a program of NTN24, the reason why education pays in certain industries is because the title is still considered synonymous of "I am a great worker", but this gain can be momentary and while the more you want to climb in professional life, the more titles will be required and the less remunerations will be. It is at this point, where according to Caplan, society begins to be affected by the excess of university demand.
In Latin America, titles pay if there are jobs
Reports from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that in some Latin American countries people with a doctorate or master's degree can earn up to four times more than an individual who only finished school.
In Chile, adults with a postgraduate degree earn 4.4 times more than a high school graduate. In Brazil, the figure reaches 4.3 and in Mexico the salary is three times higher, according to the OECD. This could be due to the fact that only a very few finish university: in the case of Brazil only 14% of adults complete their higher education, in Mexico 16%, in Chile 21%, and in Colombia 22%.
Although the OECD figures seem to encourage the need to finish postgraduate studies and acquire specializations or master's degrees to earn a better salary, it is usual to see thousands of young people highly prepared in unemployment or working in other jobs different to their field of study.
This panorama would then support the theory of Bryan Caplan, which indicates that the developed or developing societies would be better off if not all the individuals dreamed or were forced to obtain a university degree to enter the working life.
As indicated by the World Bank in a report on higher education in Latin America, "the formation of qualified human capital is not enough to raise productivity, growth and equity. There must also be an environment where companies can generate quality jobs that in turn make productive use of that better-trained workforce".
LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Translated from " Educación superior: ¿Éxito asegurado o pérdida de dinero? "