A Connecticut woman named Tanya McDowell has recently been in the news for committing larceny. She and her son were homeless at the time her son was enrolled in a local elementary school. The enrollment into a school was not the beef; rather, officials had a problem with which school. See the full story here. Why did Ms. McDowell need to send her child to a specific school? School choice anyone?
There were two interesting articles on the Freakonomics Blog (here and here). Dan Hungerman has new research that suggests that increased education leads to lower religiosity. Dan is able to control for the selection effect (that people who select into more years of education are different people than those who do not) because of Canada's compulsory schooling laws. I've emailed Dan about the results, because, I have a question about whether it is not just education but the type of education and those supplying the education. In the other blog post Dubner posts the conversation between him and Leavitt about whether college really matters. Leavitt responds,
Of all the topics that economists have studied, I would say one we are most certain about are the returns to education. And the numbers that people have come up with over and over are that every extra year of education that you get will translate into an 8 percent increase in earnings over your lifetime. So someone who graduated from college will earn about 30 percent more on average than someone who only graduated from high school. And if anything, the returns to education have gotten larger over time. They’re as big as they have ever been.Although there are questions about whether there are returns for PhDs of certain kinds. See Economist article "Doctoral Degrees: The Disposable Academic"
Similar to the argument made about the "type of education" is this recent article by Dan Klein called "In Praise of Ideological Openness". Klein notes that ideology is definitely going to color the lectures of even the most attentive speakers and social scientists are especially prone to these kinds of bias. Thus, why not openly admit your bias? One of my favorite lines:
Two professors can each teach a course in labor economics and make all of their statements reasonably true, by our lights. But the two courses may nonetheless be very different in ideological flavor. We may object strongly to one of the courses, not for its errors of commission, but its errors of omission.