Monday, January 28, 2019

The opportunity cost of studying art

From the Economist: economists are paid a huge premium (100%) to compensate them for studying econ vs. art.  Or to turn it around, art majors forego about $50,000/year to study art.

Many gifted arts students would struggle to crunch numbers. But for those who can excel at both, the cost of sticking with the arts, in terms of forgone wages, is steep. Cambridge creative-arts students have a-level scores close to those of economics students at Warwick, but earn about half as much. That is tantamount to giving up an annuity worth £500,000.

Who can afford such indulgence? The answer is Oxbridge students, who often have rich parents. At most universities, students in courses that lead to high-paying jobs, such as economics and medicine, tend to come from wealthier families, partly because such applicants are more likely to have the examination scores necessary to be accepted. At Oxbridge, however, no such correlation exists. History and philosophy students there come from richer parts of Britain, on average, than their peers studying medicine do.

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