Skip to content

The Atlantic makes us warm inside

Oh my peers, my readers, you will love this:

But in fact a whole generation of young adults is likely to see its life chances permanently diminished by this recession. Lisa Kahn, an economist at Yale, has studied the impact of recessions on the lifetime earnings of young workers. In one recent study, she followed the career paths of white men who graduated from college between 1979 and 1989. She found that, all else equal, for every one-percentage-point increase in the national unemployment rate, the starting income of new graduates fell by as much as 7 percent; the unluckiest graduates of the decade, who emerged into the teeth of the 1981–82 recession, made roughly 25 percent less in their first year than graduates who stepped into boom times.

But what’s truly remarkable is the persistence of the earnings gap. Five, 10, 15 years after graduation, after untold promotions and career changes spanning booms and busts, the unlucky graduates never closed the gap. Seventeen years after graduation, those who had entered the workforce during inhospitable times were still earning 10 percent less on average than those who had emerged into a more bountiful climate. When you add up all the earnings losses over the years, Kahn says, it’s as if the lucky graduates had been given a gift of about $100,000, adjusted for inflation, immediately upon graduation—or, alternatively, as if the unlucky ones had been saddled with a debt of the same size.

The rest of the piece reads in a similar, heartwarming manner.

In other news, maybe I will write up something on Aristotle and friendship.

Categories: Asides.

Tags: ,

Comment Feed

2 Responses

  1. Oh my god that’s fucking depressing. I’m going back to school.

  2. I’ve heard this factoid from several different people, and I always want to react by questioning whether we should be depressed about it.

    My hope is that, for us (the Millenials), it will shake the foundations of materialism on which we’ve been raised and strengthen alternative approaches.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.