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Why Does College Cost So Much?$
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Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744503.001.0001

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Is Higher Education All That Unusual?

Is Higher Education All That Unusual?

(p.19) 2 Is Higher Education All That Unusual?
Why Does College Cost So Much?

Robert B. Archibald

David H. Feldman

Oxford University Press

This chapter compares the time paths for the post–World War II period of higher education prices and the prices of other goods and services produced in the economy. Using simple graphs, it shows that the time path of higher education prices is quite different from the time paths of the prices of durable goods, non-durable goods, and several services. But the chapter concludes that higher education is not all that unusual. The time paths of the prices of some services, particularly those provided by highly educated workers, are quite similar to the time path of higher education prices. The chapter ends with a listing of four facts that emerge from this look at the data and an explanation of how what we have found fits into the workhorse model in economics—supply and demand.

Keywords:   durable goods, highly educated workers, non-durable goods, services, supply and demand

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