Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Practical Education

Bryan Caplan gratiously writes that he is lucky to have me as a reader. He calls me Prof. Smith which not only still sounds icky but makes me wonder whether my addressing him as Bryan was too familiar.

Nonetheless, his point about overestimating practicality is well taken. Though, I wonder how truly ivory tower one must be to suffer from this form of bias.

I am also still curious as to how university education, with its professors spending more time on research than in the classroom, could be the most effecient form of signaling the market can muster.

Some university education is highly subsidized for sure. Yet, there is competition between states and for charity dollars. If anything this compeition seems to be reinforcing the research university model not replacing it.

Moreover, why do young scholars in North Carolina dream of going to Duke not Davidson. Davidson was recently named the most difficult undergraduate institution. Surely, it must be a great signal when one graduates from it with a 3.5.

Yet, accross the country education seems to be moving away from the intensive liberal arts model towards a much more don't-bother-us-while-we're-in-the-lab reseach university model.

If there is not some sort of important human capital transfer going on then quite frankly why is the rest of the world so willing to put up with research professors' you know what.

But, perhaps I'll have to wait for Prof. Caplan's book?

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