Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blog Department of Burying the Lede, Tyler Cowen Edition

Some of you long-time "Mr. K" fans (if such a creature exists) might remember when I blogged about Tyler Cowen's writing on arts and capitalism. It won't surprise you that I continue to follow his blog Marginal Revolution, which he co-writes with Alex Tabarrok.

While I don't agree with all of his conclusions or understand some of the headier economic material, he usually has some interesting conclusions. For example, in the midst of a post about a book by Charles Murray about the upper class and middle/lower classes diverging in America, he dropped this bomb, which makes sense, but which I'd never thought of before:

 The liberation of American women also damaged the quality of public education, by removing the implicit subsidy of so many “captive” and smart female laborers. 
 Perhaps part of the reason that the quality of public education has declined in relation to previous generations, is because the wages of public school teachers were only competitive for women when they had little hope of any other trade.

I know there are arguments that, for unionized teachers, benefits are actually pretty good, but those benefits accrue after the teachers have been there for a while and penalize entry-level teachers.

I think it's a good thing that smart people of both genders can now contribute to all fields. However, I wonder if part of the knee-jerk bias against the teacher side of the education debates is due to the fact that, prior to the "liberation of American women", teaching was often identified as a woman's job and the people holding those positions for a while were often considered "old maids".


Anthony said...

Interesting post...I might have to visit that blog...In short, societal decision, legislative action, etc. has both positive and negative consequences. Some stakeholders will benefit and others will be disadvantaged (and still others will both gain and lose).

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