Monday, May 3, 2010

Lazy college students?

In this paper, we have documented that full-time students at four-year colleges in the U.S. are investing much less time in academics than they once did. Full-time college students in 1961 allocated about 40 hours per week toward class and studying, whereas full-time students in 2003 invested about 27 hours per week. ...

We highlight two important implications of the finding. Firstly, falling academic time investment by full-time students suggests that the opportunity cost of a year of college (or, more precisely, the time component thereof) has declined over the years. This change appears substantial, and may not have been fully understood or appreciated in previous work on changes over time in the wage return to college. Secondly, if student effort is a meaningful input to the education production process, then declining time investment may signify declining production of human capital—or a dramatic and heretofore undocumented change in the way human capital is being produced on college campuses.
--Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks, "The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data," on how they don't study like they used to

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