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Should You Have Gone to College in Europe?

In the recent debate in the United States regarding the government’s role in higher education, some politicians are calling for a system with free tuition for all students, similar to that of most Western European countries. Therefore, we want to explore the opportunity cost of the American and European systems, by analyzing which offers the best return on investment to its youth, assuming the student will work in the same region where he studied. Due to the numerous variables at play, we will consider the circumstances of both an average student of average income and of a highly academically-apt, low-income student. One of the most-discussed countries in this debate is Germany, where tuition stands at zero dollars for higher education. According to The College Board, the average U.S. in-state tuition for a public four-year college is $9,650, yet the average total grant aid (including federal, state and institutional) is $5,010, received by half of all undergraduate students. The misconception that higher education in the States is much more expensive originates in the distinct college culture in both continents. As a Spaniard, I have observed that whilst Americans consider the total cost of attendance, Europeans contemplate only tuition when making their college decision. For example, universities in Germany are not free: they are tuition-free, and room and board hovers around $9,980. The same situation occurs in Scandinavia. In Sweden, the average student will hold KEEP READING >>

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A Republican Plan for Family Care?

By: Mitchell Mikinski In mid-September of last year, Donald Trump did something surprising for a Republican presidential nominee: he unveiled a paid family leave program, crafted and created by his oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. It was a landmark about-face for a party that has championed first and foremost business goals for the better part of half a century. It also came in the course of an election year that saw his campaign marred by accusations of sexism, while simultaneously having to run against a ticket topped by a woman who already had a more robust version of the same plan. The roots of these policies stem from more than just political pressure and competition in 2016. Indeed, paid family leave has been a present in America since 2002, when California  created its own program. However, since then, the policy has struggled to catch on across the country.Currently only 5 states have laws on the books that mandate paid family leave. Of those, only 3 have fully implemented KEEP READING >>

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Fall 2016 Journal

Our Fall 2016 edition is here! Read on to find out about the decline of the agricultural sector in Puerto Rico, the social and economic effects of spending cuts vs tax increases, and contraception's effect on wages. Our hard copies will be here soon so hang tight and we'll let you know when you can pick them up. https://issuu.com/columbiaeconreview/docs/final_fall_2016   KEEP READING >>

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Just for Fun: Taxing the Hamilton Stairs

One of the major problems that students attending classes in Hamilton face is that they see unusually high traffic on stairways during the few minutes before and after class. This creates a bottleneck situation due to a large number of students competing for a tiny space (two narrow stairways) during specific time periods. Naturally, one solution would be to divert some of the students away from the two stairways by offering them alternative ways of transportation. The only alternative route would be the Hamilton elevator, which is equally congested and incredibly slow and inefficient. Some might argue that the school should increase capacity – building a new stairway. However, the extra capacity will not cause additional students to use the stairs because the total number of students taking classes in Hamilton is fixed. Moreover, this tactic can be rather difficult to implement, as the school is likely unwilling to spend extra money to renovate the building and build an entire new KEEP READING >>

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The Future of Marijuana on Campus

Marijuana legalization has been a divisive issue in the United States for decades, yet it appears to have finally turned the corner.  While marijuana is still prohibited under federal law, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington - and last week, California, Nevada and Massachusetts - have all legalized the recreational usage of marijuana and the commercial sale of marijuana with a license.   Foreign countries are also easing their stances on marijuana.  Canada is poised to legalize the drug in spring 2017, opening itself up to a $5 billion-dollar industry.   For college students, marijuana legalization may seem like a dream come true.  In 2015, daily marijuana usage on college campuses reached its highest percentage since 1980, even as the consumption of alcohol, narcotics, and amphetamines declined.  Moreover, the rapid growth and diffusion of small dispensaries in states that have legalized marijuana has removed barriers to access.  Colorado, for example, has over 900 licensed KEEP READING >>

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