The American education system is a waste of both time and money—at least according to Bryan Caplan, author of the new book, The Case Against Education. Rather than actually impart useful skills, education’s benefits stem mainly from “signaling,” implying that as a nation we could drastically reduce years of schooling and be no worse off. It’s an explosive thesis challenging the conventional wisdom of labor economists, but is it right?

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University, a regular blogger at EconLog, and author of the books Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, and The Myth of the Rational Voter.