This research investigates both positive and negative effects on society of more people seeking and achieving a higher educational level. It recognises greater educational achievement as a route to higher social status for individuals. It also highlights the potential benefits to the economy, and the possibility of greater innovation. However, an increase in the number of highly educated individuals results in increased competition in the job market. This may not always be positive. This research thus explores, within Japan and Taiwan, the unintended negative consequences on society of having more people pursue a higher education in the context of a poor economy.