Don’t bet on it. The argument for pushing STEM is not only dubious, it’s part of a larger dubious argument about what’s wrong with our economy and how we should fix it. Here’s Paul Krugman discussing research by economist Edward Lazear:
Lazear’s question is whether a large part of the rise in unemployment is “structural”, that is, reflecting supply factors, or whether it’s mainly simple lack of demand. The Keynesian view is, of course, that it’s demand, and that fiscal and monetary policy should be acting to provide the missing demand. On the other side you have either supply-side views a la Mulligan claiming that taxes and benefits are discouraging people from working, or more or less Austrianish views that it’s about maladaption of the structure of production that left too many workers and too much capital stuck in the wrong industries.In other words, the argument for pushing STEM is brought to you by the same people who brought you fiscal austerity, and who—as Krugman never tires of reminding us—have been wrong about everything.
Lazear goes through the data, and finds overwhelming evidence of inadequate demand, little if any evidence of structural problems.
If the problem is inadequate demand, the fix is fiscal stimulus, not education policy. Funny how often education proposals function as substitutes for addressing real economic ills.
More from Freddie deBoer here.