Education and Anti-Market Bias: The Illusion of Perversity
By Bryan Caplan
Most libertarians and free-market economists are surprised when I tell them that more educated people are more libertarian and more pro-market than the general population. I think they’re in the grip of two illusions:
1. Sampling bias. Well-educated leftists cling to universities like barnacles. If you endure four years of their company and tutelage, it’s easy to believe that education and leftism go hand in hand. But in the general population, the two are barely related. If you’re a well-educated non-leftist, you get your diploma and move on with your life – or end up at GMU.
2. Relative/absolute confusion. There’s a world of difference between saying “More educated people are more libertarian and more pro-market than the general population,” and saying, “More educated people are libertarian and pro-market.” The former is true; the latter is false. I agree that the typical non-leftist with an advanced degree is woefully anti-market; but compared to the typical non-leftist who dropped out of high school, he’s practically Milton Friedman.