Hat tip Tyler Cowen, link here.
It strikes me that the simple answer is: it’s the math. Having quantitative skills is a crucial differentiator for the part of the labor force that goes on to join the one percent. I think that those skills can also be found in other majors (e.g. engineering, computer science) and in fact, those folks do very well also.
What about the natural sciences? Here the story is a bit murkier: some of the natural science majors go very light on the quantitative skills. If you are a neuroscience major, but don’t have a good understanding of calculus, differential equations and perhaps linear algebra then at some level, you’re in the same boat as the political science major…
The absolutely seminal article by Alberts, Kirschner, Tilghman and Varmus is here, published in PNAS. If you can’t get behind the firewall, read the news story here.
Short version: the labor economics of biomedical research needs to be rebalanced because it’s currently unsustainable. From a macro-standpoint, the number of doctoral students and postdocs need to be reduced and that smaller number need to be better supported.
I agree with all of the article’s recommendations. This is important stuff….
Both the FT and LA Times report on this development.
Money quote from the LA Times:
Between 2005 and 2010, 1.4-million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, less than half the number that migrated from 1995 to 2000. At the same time, the number of Mexicans and their children who moved to Mexico in the same five-year period rose to 1.4 million, about double the number that did so from 1995 to 2000.
The estimates are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and on Mexican census data. The most recent data indicate that the historic flow of migrants into the U.S. might even have started to reverse.
Both papers attribute the phenomenon at least partially to immigration politics and unemployment within the US. The FT mentions in passing “improving economic conditions” in Mexico. It would be interesting to take a fine grain look at the labor economics of Mexico to gain a better understanding of how much of this demographic shift is coming from our Neighbor to the South.