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01/29/2006

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scalpmed

"It is common for companies in many industries to restrict the entry of competitors if they can. Why should traditional colleges be any different? They only express their opposition in more high-falutin and self-righteous language."

Gary I completely agree. We must introduce more competition into our system of education. Easier said than done however.

Thanks for a good article.

Steve

I am surprised that you are dismissive of signaling, since it is gospel at the graduate schools I've attended. So if I may play devil's advocate: first, if signaling is unimportant, why the increase in tuition prices in excess of inflation over the last fifteen years or so? Why isn't there a substitute for credentialism that would take advantage of this apparent arbitrage opportunity, and thus place downward pressure on tuition prices? Second, although productivity can be assessed via internships, what sorting mechanism will determine who gets the internships? Third, it's hard to assess individual productivity in many instances where people work as teams or in the corporate environment in general. Fourth, firms are unwilling to train workers because of raiding, thus putting the onus of acquiring training on the worker.

A degree, or the completion of at least some coursework, is a signal of one being assessed as competent in a body of knowledge. It seems that one's credential is very important in landing one's first job, and often people are able to prove themselves on the job henceforth. However, job changes, career changes, or desired new responsibilities may require a new credential, or the utilization of an older one.

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