“Although individuals enjoy decent returns to their investment in higher education, it is less clear that society as a whole does. The big question is whether the graduate premium is the consequence of higher productivity or of establishing a pecking order. If universities increase people’s productivity, then society should invest in having more graduates, but if they are merely a mechanism for signalling to employers that graduates are cleverer than non-graduates, then it should not. And since little effort goes into measuring whether universities actually educate people—a matter to which this special report will return—society does not know whether investing in education is worthwhile.”