In a study published by the American Enterprise Institute, Mark Schneider and Jorge Klor de Alva look at statistical data from Florida, Colorado and Texas to assess the labour market value of a Master’s degree in distinct disciplines. They attempt to fill in the gap that much more is known about labour market value of both Bachelor’s and PhD degrees than of Master’s degrees in the US; even though there are many more Master’s than PhD’s every year (760 000 against 179 000). They find that the salary bonus of a Master’s may be very low or even harmful in fields like Philosophy, Arts, and Early Childhood Education. At the positive extreme, we find – unsurprisingly – subjects like business and IT.
It is interesting to see that the differences between states may be – and are bigger among the big-bonus-Master’s programme than between these disciplines.
The authors note that low paying disciplines may have high societal value, but make no attempt to find an explanation for these lower rewards in ‘the labour market’. Otherwise, they might have felt the need to make a distinction between a privately-funded labour market and a publicly-funded one; with political and societal pressure to keep salaries for similarly tricky or essential tasks lower in the public sector than in the private sector.