After the global financial crisis, students were devastated. Many wallowed in unemployed misery, bemoaning that there just weren’t enough jobs to go around. Those who landed jobs felt that they were settling for less, accepting positions they didn’t want at employers that weren’t a great fit.
This wasn’t just a short-term problem: research suggests that when people start their careers in an economic downturn, they earn less money over the next two decades—and despite earning more advanced degrees while the economy is bad, they end up in less prestigious jobs. As Yale economist Lisa Kahn writes, “the labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy are large, negative and persistent.”
Despite these disadvantages, a talented researcher named Emily Bianchi had a hunch that there might be a bright side of bad times. She
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