What If March Madness Were Determined By Salaries?

How would the college basketball tournament turn out if each game were decided by graduates' median salaries rather than points? Amazingly, there are people who think about this sort of stuff, and put together elegant graphs to prove it.

From PayScale (via Catherine Rampell), here is your Sweet Salary Sixteen:

PayScale Salary Madness
Lehigh University SalaryWake Forest University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
University of Maryland SalaryCornell University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
Georgetown University SalaryUniversity of Washington Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
Georgia Institute of Technology SalaryClemson University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
Gonzaga University SalaryDuke University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
Vanderbilt University SalaryTexas A&M University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
University of Minnesota SalaryUniversity of Notre Dame Salary
PayScale Salary Madness
Brigham Young University SalaryVillanova University Salary
PayScale Salary Madness

Duke again. No real surprises there. But one thing to consider is that the PayScale folks are looking at median mid-career salaries. If you changed the metric to median starting salary, you'd probably a different bracket. Schools with strong engineering programs might bump out some liberal arts-focused programs. I'm only guessing that because another PayScale study ranked top colleges by highest median mid-career salary (first chart) and median starting salary (second chart). There's a bit of overlap, but the first list is mostly Ivies and Ivy-ish schools while the second is heavy on the engineering programs:

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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