Too many high achievers?

Oct. 11, 2013

There's a big push to promote college education among young people in the U.S. But is there such a thing as too many college graduates?

The evidence from South Korea is that there can be. The Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul figures about 42% of recent college graduates are "overeducated," apparently meaning they don't use their college degree. "Had about 42% of the graduates bypassed college and started working immediately after high school, GDP growth would have been as much as 1.01 percentage points higher," the Institute says.

It is common practice for Koreans to engage tutors for their kids and even to go into debt so their offspring can attend better schools. A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek  revealed that private consumption in Korea fell recently and said that spending on schools and tutoring was one of the reasons. The Businessweek article also seems to indicate that there is a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses effect in Korea with regard to schooling. So Korean parents are unlikely to take their feet off the gas pedal when it comes to more schooling for their kids, the end result being, apparently, even more college-educated Koreans with dim prospects.

About the Author

Lee Teschler | Editor

Leland was Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan;, and a MBA from Cleveland State University. Prior to joining Penton, Lee worked as a Communications design engineer for the U.S. Government.

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