Posts tagged ‘Economic growth’

February 21, 2013

There is little evidence that increased education spending drives economic growth

by Grace

JONAH GOLDBERG: Education is important and necessary for a host of reasons. But there’s little evidence it drives growth.

Questioning whether increased education spending is really the key to “winning the future”

British scholar Alison Wolf writes in “Does Education Matter?”: “The simple one-way relationship … — education spending in, economic growth out — simply does not exist. Moreover, the larger and more complex the education sector, the less obvious any links to productivity.”

Nasim Taleb, author of “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder,” argues that education pays real benefits at a micro level because it allows families to lock in their economic status. An entrepreneurial father can ensure his kids will do OK by paying for them to become doctors and lawyers. But what is true at the micro level is not always true at the macro level.

Think about it this way: Growing economies spend a lot on education, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that spending makes them grow. During the so-called Gilded Age, the U.S. economy roared faster and longer than ever before or since, while the illiteracy rate went down. But the rising literacy didn’t cause the growth. Similarly, in the 20th century, in places like China, South Korea and India, the economic boom — and the policies that create it — always come first while the investments in education come later.

Jarrett Skorup looks at higher education spending.

There is no link between higher education subsidies and economic growth, and none between college degrees and job creation.

Since 1980, Michigan has spent a much higher proportion of personal income on state government support for higher education than nearby states like Illinois and Ohio. According to Ohio University economist Richard Vedder, by the year 2000, the Mitten State was spending the sixth most in the country (2.34 percent of its personal income), double what Illinois was spending and much more than Ohio. This did not lead to higher growth as Michigan’s economy performed among the worst in the country during that time period.

And states with a higher proportion of college graduates do not necessarily grow by adding more college degrees. A comparison of the number of state residents with a college degree with per capital income growth from 2000-2008 yields no correlation.

James M. Hohman of the  Mackinac Center for Public Policy sees “no correlation between a state increasing its college graduate base and growing its economy”.

20130214.COCGradGrowthVsIncomeGrowth2000-20081

If the hypothesis promoted by Glazer and the lobbyists engaged by Michigan’s tax-supported public universities was correct, the various points on this chart would be clustered around an upward sloping line, as states with higher growth in the number of grads also enjoyed relative improvements in income. However, no such trend line exists.

Another chart that built in a lag time also showed no correlation.

… The chart below compares state grad growth between 2000 and 2005 and income growth in the three succeeding years; once again no pattern can be detected.

20130214.COCGradGrowthVsIncomeGrowthLag1

So many factors enter into economic growth, making it believable that education spending would not be a driving factor.

August 27, 2012

Tough choices – the political tug between funding healthcare and education

by Grace

Michael J. Petrilli lays out the options for choosing between healthcare or education spending.  The choices are easier if economic growth is robust.

You can either “ration” health care or you can “ration” education (and all other social spending). Take your pick.

The basic challenge—this is hardly news—is that America is aging and, as a result, is spending a lot of money on healthcare and retirement expenses. These expenses will go up and up in coming decades; they’re built into our demography. Unless economic growth can outpace the cost increase, however, that means less money for everything else—education included.

So let’s say you want to protect the education budget and other investments in the young—in the future. The first thing you need to do is constrain public outlays for the old—which mostly means holding the line on healthcare spending. And the second thing you need to do is encourage maximum economic growth. Get both of these things right and you avoid Armageddon.

Now hold on, you say, there are other options. You can go after the defense budget. You can raise taxes on the rich. That’s true, and these might help at the margins, at least for a while. But as the chart below shows, defense spending is hardly putting pressure on education spending—healthcare is. And as many economists will tell you, if you tax the rich too aggressively, you’ll drive down economic growth. You might slice the pie more evenly but a smaller pie means less for everyone. (And taxing the rich won’t raise nearly enough revenue, anyway.)

State spending for Medicaid vs. higher education costs

“The two biggest items of every state budget are Medicaid and education,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told IBD recently. “As the Medicaid mandate rises, the educational funding declines. That is passed on to universities and they raise tuition in order to make up for it.”

A report from the State Budget Crisis Task Force found that even before ObamaCare kicks in, Medicaid costs have been growing “faster than the economy” and “faster than state revenue.” As a result, Medicaid now consumes 24% of state funds, and its ongoing growth “can no longer be absorbed without significant cuts to other essential state programs like education.”
Think College Is Expensive Now? Wait Until ObamaCare (Investors.com)

May 9, 2012

College-educated wives dropping out of the workforce

by Grace

College-educated wives married to similarly educated husbands are leaving the workforce in increasing numbers, creating a trend that may hinder an already weak economic recovery.  But will young men’s lower college graduation rates reverse this trend?

… between 1993 and 2006, there was a decline in the workforce of 0.1 percent a year on average in the number of college-educated women, with similarly educated spouses.

That contrasts with growth of 2.4 percent a year between 1976 and 1992.

The result: the labor force in 2008 had 1.64 million fewer such women than if the growth rate had kept up its earlier trend, slightly more than 1 percent of the total workforce in that year….

May have a negative effect on economic growth

Stefania Albanesi, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and one of the study’s authors, said the loss may hurt economic growth at a time when the nation can ill afford to have highly skilled workers on the sidelines….

Dropping out of the workforce is not just for the super-wealthy, and babies are not the reason these women are staying home.

But the trend is not limited to top earners. It has been detected among households earning around $80,000 per year….

… it’s not the tug of looking after young children that makes most educated women give up their career.

“These women usually give up their jobs when their children are school-age and not babies any more,” Albanesi said.

This doesn’t surprise me.  I know I’m not the only mom who found that juggling babies and work was a lot easer than caring for older, school-aged children while working full-time.  As they grow older, the logistical, disciplinary, and emotional needs of children can become more complicated.  For me, out-sourcing childcare for my pre-teens proved more challenging than finding a good caregiver for my babies.

Will the more women than men graduating from college, will this trend be affected?

Educational homogamy, the tendency to marry someone of the same educational level, is a decades-long pattern particularly strong among college graduates.  With the declining “supply” of men who are marriage material for educated women, what will happen?  Will female college graduates change their behavior and join their less-educated sisters in the growing trend of having children outside of marriage?  Or maybe they will begin to marry down in greater numbers.  In this case, quitting work to care for children may not be such a good option for wives out-earning their husbands, and we may see more men staying home to care for children.  That would be a significant shift in traditional gender roles, with unpredictable effects on families.

Add in the higher education bubble to these possible scenarios and anyone’s prediction about the next 30 years starts to look very fuzzy.  All I can think to do is advise my children to be ready for anything and be careful what you wish for.

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