Griggs v. Duke Power

Does the increase in college enrollment over the past 30 years partly reflect the changing pressures on employers based on a 1971 Supreme Court decision? And if so, could these pressures also explain the much-touted increase in earnings that comes from a college education?

This paper by Bryan O’Keefe and Richard Vedder shows that Griggs v. Duke Power may have enormously boosted the number of students in college and may have increased the differential in income between high school and college graduates. It may have led to higher tuition, without providing commensurate additional value.

Indeed, it could even be a judicial decision whose economic implications have been matched by only a few far more celebrated cases in history such as Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), the Dred Scott decision (1857), and the Schechter Poultry case (1935).

The paper is jointly published by the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. For a PDF of the paper, click here.