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U.S. Education and Training Policy: A Re-evaluation of the Underlying Assumptions Behind the "New Consensus A Re-evaluation of the Underlying Assumptions Behind the "New Consensus"

  • James J. Heckman
  • Rebecca L. Roselius
  • Jeffrey A. Smith

In response to rising wage inequality and lower real wages for low-skill workers over the last decade, a "new consensus" has emerged that questions the ability of American schools and firms to educate and train workers, especially non-college bound youth. The remedies proposed by proponents of the new consensus include implementing an apprenticeship system patterned after programs in Germany, creating a nation-wide system of vocational credentialing and increasing the availability of government training programs. In this paper, we critically examine the assumptions underlying the current proposals. We do not find empirical or theoretical justification for many of the proposed programs. While some of these programs aim toward desirable ends, other more efficient, less costly means exist to attain their objectives.

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Paper provided by Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago in its series Working Papers with number 9304.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
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Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:9304
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