Friday, October 13, 2017

Timothy Taylor — The Lost US Lead in Education

I suppose there are a few themes to draw from this.
First, catch-up in education levels by the rest of the world is broadly a good thing, because it's a good thing for a range of reasons from economic to self-determination when more humans have a higher level of education.
Second, 1950 was a unique time, and it's implausible that the US would have maintained its status of dramatically higher education levels indefinitely.
Third, with those previous points acknowledged, the US has not done a good job in the last half-century of fostering the incentives, institutions, and culture that would have helped it to keep a lead in human capital. I'm not talking only or even mostly about the public schools here, but about the many contexts in which schools, colleges and universities, employers, and individuals make decisions about providing and working on their education.
The real challenge that is emerging in human capital is from China and India, because of the numbers involved. In addition, as China and India become more developed it will more difficult and expensive to poach their talent. Eventually, the brain drain will reverse.

Conversable Economist
The Lost US Lead in Education
Timothy Taylor | Managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota

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