Teaching is a labor-intensive service industry for which it is difficult to increase productivity. Thus, the price of education rises over time, the Baumol effect. One of the reasons Tyler and I have put a lot of effort into online education is that it ties education to high productivity growth industries such as software and technology. Thus in the Industrial Organization of Online Education we argued:
…as more of the value of a course comes from software and less from live teaching, productivity will improve, thus removing the cost disease.
Here’s a case in point:
This is just a test but all of the videos for our textbook, Modern Principles, and our free online platform Marginal Revolution University are already subtitled in many languages and soon we will see more translations like the one above. Amazing.