Thursday, September 03, 2009

Links for 9/3/09

by Andrew Gillen

Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) HT: William McGurn
Doesn’t it seem strange that we can have a shortage of skilled labor, a crumbling infrastructure, and rising unemployment? How did we get into this fix? Are we lazy? Our society has slowly redefined what it means to have a “good job.” The portrayals in Hollywood and the messages from Madison Avenue have been unmistakable. “Work less and be happy!” For the last thirty years we’ve been celebrating a different kind of work. We’ve aspired to other opportunities. We’ve stopped making things. We’ve convinced ourselves that “good jobs” are the result of a four year degree. That’s bunk. Not all knowledge comes from college. Skill is back in demand.
Amusing/Scary story. HT: GM

Real Time Economics:
The intensifying competition to get into high-prestige private college colleges, particularly among upscale parents in the Boston to Washington corridor…

In a paper distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, John Bound and Brad Hershbein of the University of Michigan and Bridget Terry Long of Harvard…

“The increased competition that currently exists for admission to a more selective college might have real benefit it it were to increase learning amongst high school students,” they write. “However, our analysis suggests there are reasons to be suspicious that this congenial outcome might not hold true.”

Another NBER paper, by economists Garey and Valerie Ramey of the University of California at San Diego, suggests that competition to get into a good college is changing the way ambitious parents spend their time… To improve their kids’ chances of success in the college sweepstakes, they argue, parents are spending more time with their children. They call it “The Rug Rat Race.”
Cool chart at CHE showing freshman migration.

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