Piketty on higher education

by VanessaVaile

The title introduces this May 2014 post with succinct precision and better than any blurb I could add. It’s also an apt prelude for the chain gang of queued up reblog posts

Bryan Alexander

Recently Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century seized the imagination of many Americans, reigniting debates about economic inequality (my review).  Meanwhile, our current crisis over education reform roars on.  What does this spotlit book say about higher education?

The short version: Piketty wants us to increase public spending on colleges and universities in order to help address income inequalities.

The longer version…?

The book’s main discussion of academia occurs in a section about wage inequality, as opposed to unequal ownership of capital, which occupies most of the text.  Piketty will ultimately remove higher education from this context, as we’ll see at the end of this post, but he begins the analysis by considering changes in income distribution, asking what role education plays in widening or narrowing inequality (304ff).

The Race Between Education and TechnologyThe first way into the problem occurs through Goldin and Katz’ Race Between Technology and Education (2010), which Piketty…

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