Education

The Value of College Graduates to an Economy

I often encounter statistics on how much having a college degree adds to an individuals' earnings, whether annually or over their lifetimes. However, I recently wanted to know, "How much value does adding a college graduate to a local economy contribute to the rest of that local economy?"

UC Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti provides one answer to that question in his article, "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data." He writes that, in a given city, "a percentage point increase in the supply of college graduates raises high school drop-outs’ wagesby 1.9%, high school graduates’ wages by 1.6%, and college graduates wages by 0.4%."