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Who Receives the College Wage Premium? Assessing the Labor Market Returns to Degrees and College Transfer Patterns

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  • Audrey Light

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  • Wayne Strayer

Abstract

Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we estimate wage models in which college-educated workers are classified according to their degree attainment, college type, and college transfer status. The detailed taxonomy produces modest improvements in explanatory power relative to standard specifications, and reveals considerable heterogeneity in the predicted wages of college-educated workers. We find that transfer students receive an “indirect” wage benefit insofar as changing colleges allows them to earn a degree. Some transfer students receive an additional “direct” wage benefit, presumably because switching schools increases their skill investment opportunities.

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File URL: http://economics.sbs.ohio-state.edu/pdf/alight/wp03-02.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ohio State University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 03-02.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:osu:osuewp:03-02

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  1. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
  2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  3. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jaeger, David A & Page, Marianne E, 1996. "Degrees Matter: New Evidence on Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 733-40, November.
  5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  6. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating The Payoff To Attending A More Selective College: An Application Of Selection On Observables And Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527, November.
  7. repec:fth:prinin:409 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Comay, Yochanan & Melnik, A & Pollatschek, M A, 1973. "The Option Value of Education and the Optimal Path for Investment in Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(2), pages 421-35, June.
  9. Manski, Charles F., 1989. "Schooling as experimentation: a reappraisal of the postsecondary dropout phenomenon," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 305-312, August.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji, 1991. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes are Uncertain," NBER Working Papers 3714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Audrey Light & Alita Nandi, 2007. "Identifying race and ethnicity in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 125-144, April.
  2. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Stephan Veen, 2006. "Incentives for Schools, Educational Signals and Labour Market Outcomes," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0009, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Jun 2006.
  3. Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso & Light, Audrey, 2009. "Interpreting Degree Effects in the Returns to Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4169, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Montgomery, Mark & Anderson, Katharine, 2007. "Best laid plans: Gender and the MBA completion rates of GMAT registrants," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 175-191, March.
  5. Gibbison, Godfrey A. & Henry, Tracyann L. & Perkins-Brown, Jayne, 2011. "The chicken soup effect: The role of recreation and intramural participation in boosting freshman grade point average," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 247-257, April.
  6. Katja Görlitz & Barbara S. Grave, 2012. "Wage Differentials by Field of Study – The Case of German University Graduates," Ruhr Economic Papers 0316, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  7. 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.
  8. Jepsen, Christopher, 2008. "Multinomial probit estimates of college completion at 2-year and 4-year schools," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 155-160, February.

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