Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Does Education Teach Us Anything?

Yes, but not what you would expect though.

According to David Friedman:"Considerable parts of it appear designed to teach people to pretend to intellectual tastes and knowledge that they do not possess and that there is no good reason why they should possess."

If what Dave said were true, that might provide us with a novel explanation of the wage premium earned by workers with a college degree over those who don't have one. College graduates are simply better actors. Is there a way to test this implication of David's claim?

David's claim is also consistent with the signalling theory of education. We don't go through school because of what we are expected to learn there. So it does not matter if all those who go to school only learn about how to pretend to learn about intellectual tastes and knowledge that they don't have. The mere fact that we go through school is good enough to show that the school-goers have certain qualities, presumably valuable to employers, that non-school-goers do not possess.

And the quote from David can be found on his post: Ideas: Condi Rice and Walt Whitman

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