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What's the value of an acceptance letter? Using admissions data to estimate the return to college

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  • Öckert, Björn

Abstract

This paper exploits discontinuities and randomness in the college admissions in Sweden in 1982, to estimate the economic return to college in the 1990s. At the time, college admissions were highly selective and applicants were ranked with respect to their formal merits. Admissions were given to those ranked higher than some threshold value. At the margin, applicants were sometimes randomly assigned to college. Exploiting this Regression-Discontinuity design, individuals who were admitted in 1982 are estimated to have about 0.20 years longer college education in 1996. However, the earnings effects for applicants at the margin of admission are insignificant. Controlling for the college admission determinants, the OLS-estimates of the return to college is 1.4 percent in 1991-96. The IV-estimates are not significantly different from the OLS counterparts.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 29 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 504-516

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:29:y:2010:i:4:p:504-516

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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Keywords: Human capital Rate of return Educational economics;

References

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  1. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  2. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," NBER Working Papers 7322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
  4. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  6. Per-Anders Edin & Bertl Holmlund, 1993. "The Swedish Wage Stucture: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  8. Behrman, Jere R & Rosenzweig, Mark R & Taubman, Paul, 1996. "College Choice and Wages: Estimates Using Data on Female Twins," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 672-85, November.
  9. Monks, James, 2000. "The returns to individual and college characteristics: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 279-289, June.
  10. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hällsten, Martin, 2012. "Is it ever too late to study? The economic returns on late tertiary degrees in Sweden," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 179-194.
  2. Jurajda, Stepan & Münich, Daniel, 2006. "Admission to Selective Schools, Alphabetically," CEPR Discussion Papers 5427, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Justine S. Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2013. "Are Some Degrees Worth More than Others? Evidence from college admission cutoffs in Chile," NBER Working Papers 19241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Humlum, Maria Knoth & Kristoffersen, Jannie H. G. & Vejlin, Rune Majlund, 2014. "Timing of College Enrollment and Family Formation Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 7905, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Nybom, Martin, 2014. "The Distribution of Lifetime Earnings Returns to College," Working Paper Series 2/2014, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  6. Liu, Liqun & Neilson, William S., 2011. "High scores but low skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 507-516, June.

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