My confidence in the empirical importance of the signaling model of education generates a lot of pushback from my fellow economists.  For starters, see my arguments with Bill Dickens, Tyler Cowen, Karl Smith, and Arnold.  Which got me wondering: How alone am I? 

The Kauffman Foundation’s Tim Kane gave me the chance to find out on the 4th Quarter econ blogger survey.  My question – and the results:


I’m honestly surprised.  I expected 40-60% to say “mostly human capital formation,” and 5-15% to say “all human capital formation.”  After all, Bill Dickens (not an econ blogger, and therefore not surveyed) once told me that he thought that the signaling component of the measured return to education was negative.  Apparently I’m not as alone as I thought.

The Kauffman write-up also includes the following comments:


Possibly.  But as Kauffman often points out, its sample of econ bloggers is pretty representative of the overall economics profession.  All things considered, I now suspect that the pushback I’ve experienced from my peers reflects a vocal minority rather than a stubborn consensus.  That’s excellent news for me: It’s far easier to be the guy who says the Truth that Dare Not Speak Its Name than the Lone Nut.

Any other evidence on the consensus on signaling that I’ve missed?