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Back to School: Masters mishaps


Matt is joined by Vox's Libby Nelson and Jerusalem Demsas for a conversation about the rising cost of master’s programs, their usefulness in today’s economy, and their role as federally subsidized job training. Matt, Libby, and Jerusalem reflect on their varied educational paths and discuss the effectiveness of student loan forgiveness for higher ed. This week’s white paper illuminates the downstream consequences of raising pollution standards for battery recycling in the United States.


“‘Financially Hobbled for Life’: The Elite Master’s Degrees That Don’t Pay Off” by Melissa Korn and Andrea Fuller (The Wall Street Journal; July 8, 2021)

The Masters Trap, Part Two, Part Three by Anne Helen Peterson (Culture Studies; July 2021)

“Graduate programs have become a cash cow for struggling colleges. What does that mean for students?” by Jon Marcus (PBS Newshour; September 18, 2017)

“Master’s degree programs surge at nation’s colleges and universities” by Nick Anderson (The Washington Post; May 25, 2013)

White Paper: “North-South Displacement Effects of Environmental Regulation: The Case of Battery Recycling” (NBER; August 2021)


Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Slowboring.com

Libby Nelson (@libbyanelson), Deputy Policy Editor

Jerusalem Demsas (@JerusalemDemsas), Policy Reporter, Vox


Ness Smith-Savedoff, Producer & Engineer

Erikk Geannikis, Producer, Talk Podcasts

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