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Higher Learning, Greater Good

The Private and Social Benefits of Higher Education

Walter W. McMahon

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The chronic underinvestment in higher education has serious ramifications for both individuals and society.

Winner, Best Book in Education, 2009 PROSE Awards, Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers

Winner, Best Book in Education, PROSE Awards, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, Association of American Publishers

A college education has long been acknowledged as essential for both personal success and economic growth. But the measurable value of its nonmonetary benefits has until now been poorly understood. In Higher Learning, Greater…

The chronic underinvestment in higher education has serious ramifications for both individuals and society.

Winner, Best Book in Education, 2009 PROSE Awards, Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers

Winner, Best Book in Education, PROSE Awards, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division, Association of American Publishers

A college education has long been acknowledged as essential for both personal success and economic growth. But the measurable value of its nonmonetary benefits has until now been poorly understood. In Higher Learning, Greater Good, leading education economist Walter W. McMahon carefully describes these benefits and suggests that higher education accrues significant social and private benefits.

McMahon's research uncovers a major skill deficit and college premium in the United States and other OECD countries due to technical change and globalization, which, according to a new preface to the 2017 edition, continues unabated. A college degree brings better job opportunities, higher earnings, and even improved health and longevity. Higher education also promotes democracy and sustainable growth and contributes to reduced crime and lower state welfare and prison costs. These social benefits are substantial in relation to the costs of a college education.

Offering a human capital perspective on these and other higher education policy issues, McMahon suggests that poor understanding of the value of nonmarket benefits leads to private underinvestment. He offers policy options that can enable state and federal governments to increase investment in higher education.

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Higher Learning, Greater Good

Walter W. McMahon

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Reviews

An important contribution that not only provides a diagnosis of the main problems facing US higher education but also offers some solutions.

McMahon has written a serious and important book on the economics of higher education... This book is a must-read for students interested in the economics of higher education and should be included as a required reading in such courses... McMahon's extension and revitalization of human capital theory in higher education should be of interest to a general readership in the field.

This extraordinary book patiently, thoughtfully, and thoroughly provides the conceptual framework for understanding the higher education market, the empirical findings about what that market produces and the policy prescriptions needed to make it work better in the future.

No one else before McMahon has systematically and comprehensively presented the whole picture of higher education benefits and provided a valuation of the private and social non-market benefits.

This is a significant contribution to both theory and research findings in the study of investment in higher education... Highly recommended.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
432
ISBN
9781421424033
Illustration Description
18 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
1. What Is the Problem?
2. Challenges Facing Higher Education Policy
3. Higher Education and Economic Growth
4. Private Non-Market Benefits of Higher Education and Market Failure
5. Social Benefits

Preface
1. What Is the Problem?
2. Challenges Facing Higher Education Policy
3. Higher Education and Economic Growth
4. Private Non-Market Benefits of Higher Education and Market Failure
5. Social Benefits of Higher Education and Their Policy Implications
6. University Research
7. New Higher Education Policies
8. New Strategies for Financing Higher Education
Appendixes
A. Correcting for Ability Bias in Returns to Higher Education
B. A Simplified Dynamic Model with Higher Education Externalities
C. Valuing the Effects of Higher Education on Private Non-Market Outcomes
D. Higher Education and Growth, U.S. and OECD Countries, 1960–2005
E. Valuing the External Social Benefi ts of Higher Education
References
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Walter W. McMahon

Walter W. McMahon is emeritus professor of economics and emeritus professor of education at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is the author of Education and Development: Measuring the Social Benefits.
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