Faculty in the News In the News

December 23, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Forbes Quotes Vedder on Right-to-Work and Personal Income

Dr. Richard Vedder, Distinguished Professor of Economics Emeritus at Ohio University and Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, was quoted in a Forbes column on “The Next State Where Workers Have Freedom To Choose On Union Membership” by Patrick Gleason, writing about West Virginia.

Not only is the average unemployment rate lower in Right to Work states, workers have greater purchasing power than those in forced union states. The University of Colorado’s Dr. Barry Poulson found in a 2005 study that metropolitan area residents in Right to Work states have an average after-tax purchasing power nearly $4,300 greater than their counterparts in non-Right to Work states. According to a study by Ohio University economist Richard Vedder, per capita income rose 23% faster in right-to-work states than forced union states between 1977 and 2007. From 1970 to 2013, real personal income in Right to Work states rose twice as fast as forced union states.

Vedder also was quoted by Walter Williams in a Capitalism Magazine article on “Squandered Resources on College Education.”

Richard Vedder, professor emeritus of economics at Ohio University, reports that “the U.S. Labor Department says the majority of new American jobs over the next decade do not need a college degree. We have a six-digit number of college-educated janitors in the U.S.” Vedder adds that there are “one-third of a million waiters and waitresses with college degrees.” More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree, such as flight attendants, taxi drivers and salesmen. College was not a wise use of these students’, their parents’ and taxpayer resources.

And he was quoted in a Washington Times column on “Higher education reform starts in high school.”

Encouraging students to pursue additional years of education because the skills they gained in high school are inadequate creates another problem: credential inflation. A college degree has long signaled employers that the person holding that credential is, to quote economist Richard Vedder, “moderately intelligent and is persistent.” With the value of a degree increasingly being questioned, employers must look beyond the diploma — an expensive signaling device — and take a closer look at the marketable skills of job applicants.

Vedder also authored “2015 in Review in Higher Education” in Forbes.

While there were events regarding the economics of higher education that were noteworthy in 2015, by far the biggest news related to the upsurge in campus protests, somewhat reminiscent of the protests of the late 1960s. The breakdown in law and order in the broader society, best exemplified by increased urban rioting, spread to campuses, notably the University of Missouri, but also at many elite private universities such as Yale, Princeton, and Dartmouth, and even tony liberal arts colleges like Claremont McKenna and Oberlin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *