Social Sciences Forum/Mullen Lecture
“Are We Underinvesting in Education?”
David Card, Class of 1950 Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and President-Elect of the American Economics Association
In the U.S., universities traditionally have been viewed as engines of economic growth and essential for supporting upward mobility — both for individuals and the nation. However, across many decades, a persistent counter-narrative has cast doubt on their value. Recently, concerns about rising tuition, student debt, and job insecurity have bred a dystopian view of university education.
Economist David Card argues that this view ignores a mass of positive data. While profound challenges confront American higher education, universities still bring enormous economic benefits to individual students and to the nation. Empirical evidence shows that the economic rewards for a college degree are higher than ever. In addition, there are other benefits, such as better health, a longer life, and potentially more life satisfaction. Despite these benefits, the U.S. public education system has expanded very little, especially investment in public universities.
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Photo by Gus Figuerola.