Cover: The overeducated American? a review article

The overeducated American? a review article

Published 1978

by James P. Smith, Finis Welch

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback53 pages $23.00

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 paper series. The paper was a product of RAND 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.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND 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.