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The Varied Economic Returns to Postsecondary Education: New Evidence from the Class of 1972

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  • W. Norton Grubb
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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the returns to postsecondary education using the National Longitudinal Survey of the Class of 1972, with earnings measured at about age 32. The results are based on transcripts, rather than self-reports about the amount of education, allowing postsecondary education to be more precisely described than usual. The results confirm the well-known returns to B.A. degrees. Other credentials-associate degrees, and certificates for women-also lead to higher earnings and wage rates, though indirectly: these credentials gain individuals access to jobs where they accumulate more experience and on-the-job training, but provide no further advantage once experience and OJT are controlled. Most individuals who enroll in postsecondary education but fail to complete credentials have no higher earnings than high school graduates. The effects of experience, high school achievement, and family background are familiar. The results indicate a fundamental difference between labor markets for college graduates and the sub-baccalaureate labor market.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

    Volume (Year): 28 (1993)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 365-382

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    Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:28:y:1993:i:2:p:365-382

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    Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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    Cited by:
    1. Elish Kelly & Philip O'Connell & Emer Smyth, 2008. "The Economic Returns to Field of Study and Competencies Among Higher Education Graduates in Ireland," Papers WP242, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    2. Bailey, Thomas & Jeong, Dong Wook & Cho, Sung-Woo, 2010. "Referral, enrollment, and completion in developmental education sequences in community colleges," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 255-270, April.
    3. Trachter, Nicholas, 2014. "Stepping Stone and Option Value in a Model of Postsecondary Education," Working Paper 14-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    4. Darwin Miller, 2007. "Isolating the Causal Impact of Community College Enrollment on Educational Attainment and Labor Market Outcomes in Texas," Discussion Papers 06-033, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    5. Stephanie Riegg Cellini, 2009. "Crowded Colleges and College Crowd-Out: The Impact of Public Subsidies on the Two-Year College Market," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 1-30, August.
    6. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Smith, Christopher L., 2004. "Analyzing the success of student transitions from 2- to 4-year institutions within a state," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 11-28, February.
    7. Bhaumik, Sumon K. & Gang, Ira N. & Yun, Myeong-Su, 2005. "Ethnic Conflict and Economic Disparity: Serbians and Albanians in Kosovo," IZA Discussion Papers 1772, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Latika Chaudhary, 2012. "The Labor Market Returns to a For-Profit College Education," NBER Working Papers 18343, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Eide, Eric & Waehrer, Geetha, 1998. "The Role of the Option Value of College Attendance in College Major Choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 73-82, February.
    10. Farley Ordovensky, J., 1995. "Effects of institutional attributes on enrollment choice: Implications for postsecondary vocational education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 335-350, December.
    11. Norton Grubb, W., 1995. "Postsecondary education and the sub-baccalaureate labor market: Corrections and extensions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 285-299, September.
    12. Arkes, Jeremy, 1999. "What Do Educational Credentials Signal and Why Do Employers Value Credentials?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 133-141, February.
    13. Cellini, Stephanie Riegg, 2012. "For-Profit Higher Education: An Assessment Of Costs And Benefits," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 65(1), pages 153-79, March.

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