Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks write,

We find a 10 hour decline in the average weekly study time of full-time college students at four-year colleges in the United States, from about 24 hours per week in 1961 to about 14 hours per week in 2003.

I assume that this is an earlier version of this paper.

What sort of model can reconcile this with secular increases in college attendance and the college wage premium? Possibilities

1. A secular increase in credentialism, which would make you want to get a college degree with the least effort possible.

2. An increase in the efficiency of students, which allows human capital formation to be maintained with less effort.

3. Professors have failed to adapt to the Flynn Effect, so that many students are sliding by easily on the basis of ability rather than effort.

Call me an old fogey, but I am not inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to today’s students. My view, as you know, is that we are producing too many unskilled college graduates. It could be that this recession is killing off some of the purely credentialist employment, thereby punishing those college students who failed to acquire real skills.