The overeducated American? a review article

by James P. Smith, Finis Welch


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback53 pages $23.00 $18.40 20% Web Discount

A review of Richard Freeman, The Overeducated American. Freeman argues that income returns from college have declined so rapidly since 1970 that from both a private and social perspective additional investments in college training will be marginal at best and are likely to remain so for many years to come. On the basis of our reexamination of the wage and employment data since the 1970s, we will argue that at best Freeman exaggerates the case of an oversupply of college-educated manpower and that he may in fact be wrong. The data for the 1970s are clearly telling a fascinating story of adjustments to large entering cohorts. But to us it is a story of an overcrowded new entrant and not an overeducated American. The absence of any reduction in the relative wages of more experienced college workers during this decade represents a serious challenge to Freeman's hypothesis.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.