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The Labor Market Returns to a For-Profit College Education

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  • Stephanie Riegg Cellini
  • Latika Chaudhary

Abstract

A lengthy literature estimating the returns to education has largely ignored the for-profit sector. In this paper, we estimate the earnings gains to for-profit college attendance using restricted-access data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97). Using an individual fixed effects estimation strategy that allows us to control for time-invariant unobservable characteristics of students, we find that students who enroll in associate’s degree programs in for-profit colleges experience earnings gains of about 10 percent relative to high school graduates with no college degree, conditional on employment. Since associate’s degree students attend for an average of 2.6 years, this translates to a 4 percent return per year of education in a for-profit college, slightly lower than estimates of returns for other sectors found in the literature.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18343.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18343

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  1. W. Norton Grubb, 1993. "The Varied Economic Returns to Postsecondary Education: New Evidence from the Class of 1972," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(2), pages 365-382.
  2. David J. Deming & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2011. "The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?," NBER Working Papers 17710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  4. Angrist, Joshua D & Newey, Whitney K, 1991. "Over-Identification Tests in Earnings Functions with Fixed Effects," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(3), pages 317-23, July.
  5. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  6. Freeman, Richard Barry, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Scholarly Articles 4631951, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1.
  8. Thomas J. Kane & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1999. "The Community College: Educating Students at the Margin between College and Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 63-84, Winter.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Monk-Turner, Elizabeth, 1994. "Economic returns to community and four-year college education," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 441-447.
  11. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  12. 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.
  13. Deming, David J. & Goldin, Claudia D. & Katz, Lawrence F., 2012. "The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?," Scholarly Articles 8642952, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Cory Koedel & Rajeev Darolia & Paco Martorell & Katie Wilson & Francisco Perez-Arce, 2014. "Do Employers Prefer Workers Who Attend For-Profit Colleges? Evidence from a Field Experiment," Working Papers 141, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  2. Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein, 2013. "The Wage Effects of Not-for-Profit and For-Profit Certifications: Better Data, Somewhat Different Results," NBER Working Papers 19135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lerman, Robert I., 2013. "Skill Development in Middle Level Occupations: The Role of Apprenticeship Training," IZA Policy Papers 61, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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