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Is a college diploma really worth the paper it’s printed on? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner breaks down the costs and benefits of going to college, especially during an economy that’s leaving a lot of people un- and underemployed. The data say that college graduates make a lot more money in the long run and enjoy a host of other benefits as well. But does that justify the time and money? We’ll hear from economists David Card, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers, as well as former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who made it to the White House without a college degree.
Amherst College president Biddy Martin describes what an education provides beyond facts and figures, while Steve Levitt wonders if the students he teaches at the University of Chicago are actually learning anything. Finally, a former FBI agent tells us about the very robust market for fake diplomas.