You would think that as the number of available jobs decreased, what you actually learn in college would matter more, not less. Increased knowledge and a track record of success would be the best way to distinguish yourself from the pack.Or, failing an actual track record of success, a track record of acquiring the signal that suggests the potential for future success. Lo, a separating equilibrium in a positional arms race! Regular readers know the solution.
WHY THERE IS EXCESS DEMAND.
More or Less Bunk, another participant in Historiann's call for papers, claims to have little use for economists, yet summarizes in two sentences why U.S. News sells those ranking issues and well-off parents buy test-prep services and otherwise grub to get their spawn into the Ivies.