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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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The Costs of Employing Highly Educated Workers

The Costs of Employing Highly Educated Workers

(p.49) 4 The Costs of Employing Highly Educated Workers
Why Does College Cost So Much?

Robert B. Archibald

David H. Feldman

Oxford University Press

Higher education prices have evolved over time in a manner quite similar to other service industries that rely heavily on highly educated workers, and quite differently from the time paths of prices in other service industries. As Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz explain, the returns to education are the result of a race between technological progress that increases the demand for highly educated workers and educational attainment that increases the supply. Beginning in the late 1970s, a slowdown in the growth of educational attainment helped fuel a dramatic increase in the wages of highly skilled workers. Any explanation of the rising cost of college attendance must incorporate as part of the story this shift in the income distribution in favor of the well educated.

Keywords:   educational attainment, Claudia Goldin, highly educated workers, income distribution, Lawrence Katz, service-producing industries, technological progress

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