Bryan Caplan has argued that students’ actions — not sitting in for free on classes and rejoicing at class cancellations — suggest a belief in the signaling model of education, rather than the human capital model.
Vipul Naik says, no, it’s about doing the Right Thing:
I don’t think they usually think of it as “education is useless, but I’ll go through it anyway because that allows me to signal to potential employers that I have the necessary intelligence and personality traits to succeed on the job.” Instead, I believe that people’s model of school education is linked to the idea of karma: they do what the System wants them to do, because that’s their duty and the Right Thing to do. Many of them also expect that if they do the Right Thing, and fulfill their duties well, then the System shall reward them with financial security and a rewarding life. Others may take a more fateful stance, saying that it’s not up to them to judge what the System has in store for them, but they still need to do the Right Thing.
Caplan might call that signaling conformity.