Matt Yglesias has an analysis and a hypothesis:
Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, proprietors of one of the finest economics blogs on the Internet, are launching a cool new venture that they’re calling Marginal Revolution University aimed at doing online economics education and launching with a course on development economics.
It’s pretty clear that big change is coming to the higher education space through digital technology, but it’s also worth asking who’s going to really benefit from this kind of change. The key winner, it seems to me, is someone who’s intelligent, focused, and motivated but whose parents don’t happen to have much money.
There is more analysis at the link. Matt makes this very good point:
Last but by no means least, some of the biggest winners here will be people living in poor countries where the basic logistical barriers to accessing quality higher education are often very high. I suspect it’s no coincidence that development economics—a subject likely to be of particular interest to that demographic—is where MRU is starting.