the Education Multiplier


Terrific blog by Harvard’s Edward Glaeser in the NY Times on the power of education attainment for regional economies. Worth reading! He finds that today those without college degrees have lower unemployment rates in regions with high college attainment than those without college degrees in regions with low college attainment. So college attainment not only benefits those with degrees but their neighbors without as well. This is the best data I have seen on why regions with high college attainment have the best economies. Turns out that college attainment has a big multiplier. Glaeser ends the blog with: The fact that education has mattered so much during this recession only reminds us that America’s future depends on its human capital.

Of course, this is consistent with the basic Michigan Future conclusion that talent is the asset that matters most in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. We found of the 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession from December 2007 through January 2010 7.6 million were in low education attainment industries. The knowledge-based economy sectors basically held steady, losing only 400,000 j0bs. An acceleration of the dominant economic trend for the last two decades.  And as we have been reporting for years, the states and regions that are most concentrated in high education attainment industries are those with the highest proportion of adults with a four-year degree.

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Lou Glazer

About Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.