I'll try to put some numbers to this later. There has been a lot of discussion about the current cost of education and about changes in wealth for each age group over time. If we considered education as asset which yields about 19.5 thousand per year for about 40 years we can put a dollar value to this asset: Of course the true value of the asset will be less then this because risky assets aren't worth as much on average. However, as a starting point we can compute the present value of such an annuity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_value_of_money#Present_value_of_an_annuity_for_n_payment_periods and consider how much money we should deduct from the value of this asset for risk. Additionally, we must also consider weather the earning difference is due to the educational difference or simply the difference in ambition between the two groups of people.