IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejapp/v9y2017i3p223-61.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Big Sort: College Reputation and Labor Market Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • W. Bentley MacLeod
  • Evan Riehl
  • Juan E. Saavedra
  • Miguel Urquiola

Abstract

We explore how college reputation affects the "big sort," the process by which students choose colleges and find their first jobs. We incorporate a simple definition of college reputation—graduates' mean admission scores—into a competitive labor market model. This generates a clear prediction: if employers use reputation to set wages, then the introduction of a new measure of individual skill will decrease the return to reputation. Administrative data and a natural experiment from the country of Colombia confirm this. Finally, we show that college reputation is positively correlated with graduates' earnings growth, suggesting that reputation matters beyond signaling individual skill.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Bentley MacLeod & Evan Riehl & Juan E. Saavedra & Miguel Urquiola, 2017. "The Big Sort: College Reputation and Labor Market Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 223-261, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:223-61
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20160126
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20160126
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=w6BVzcpMtCkGEA6Wff0nH6g6BibI6pmH
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=5FsyJbhIQh-cWzoQp1oNpyvaR8WcNsfX
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=9ACQzLh6wAbSYJ8DSAixdfcZaSsq4NMw
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jorge Rodríguez & Sergio Urzúa & Loreto Reyes, 2016. "Heterogeneous Economic Returns to Post-Secondary Degrees: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 416-460.
    2. Patrick J. Bayer & Peter Arcidiacono & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Web Appendix: Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," Working Papers 10-52, Duke University, Department of Economics.
    3. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    4. Hubbard, Thomas N, 2002. "How Do Consumers Motivate Experts? Reputational Incentives in an Auto Repair Market," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 437-468, October.
    5. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    7. Katja Maria Kaufmann & Matthias Messner & Alex Solis, 2013. "Returns to Elite Higher Education in the Marriage Market: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers 489, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. David Card & Thomas Lemieux, 2001. "Can Falling Supply Explain the Rising Return to College for Younger Men? A Cohort-Based Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 705-746.
    9. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    10. David Dranove & Ginger Zhe Jin, 2010. "Quality Disclosure and Certification: Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 935-963, December.
    11. John Bound & Brad Hershbein & Bridget Terry Long, 2009. "Playing the Admissions Game: Student Reactions to Increasing College Competition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 119-146, Fall.
    12. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 76-104, October.
    13. Luís Cabral & Ali Hortaçsu, 2010. "The Dynamics Of Seller Reputation: Evidence From Ebay," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(1), pages 54-78, March.
    14. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, September.
    15. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
    16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    17. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
    18. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
    19. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    20. 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.
    21. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
    22. Oreopoulos, Philip & Heisz, Andrew, 2006. "The Importance of Signalling in Job Placement and Promotion," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006236e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    23. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
    24. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    25. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Age and Experience Profiles of Earnings," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 64-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    26. Hai-Anh Dang & F. Halsey Rogers, 2008. "The Growing Phenomenon of Private Tutoring: Does It Deepen Human Capital, Widen Inequalities, or Waste Resources?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 23(2), pages 161-200, April.
    27. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
    28. Lisa B. Kahn & Fabian Lange, 2014. "Employer Learning, Productivity, and the Earnings Distribution: Evidence from Performance Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(4), pages 1575-1613.
    29. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    30. Gary Biglaiser, 1993. "Middlemen as Experts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 212-223, Summer.
    31. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
    32. Stacy B. Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2014. "Estimating the Effects of College Characteristics over the Career Using Administrative Earnings Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 323-358.
    33. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:157:y:2018:i:c:p:212-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Milla, Joniada, 2017. "The Context-Bound University Selectivity Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 11025, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Piopiunik, Marc & Schwerdt, Guido & Simon, Lisa & Woessmann, Ludger, 2018. "Skills, Signals, and Employability: An Experimental Investigation," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 63, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    4. repec:cep:cverdp:012 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Evan Riehl & Juan E. Saavedra & Miguel Urquiola, 2018. "Learning and Earning: An Approximation to College Value Added in Two Dimensions," NBER Chapters,in: Productivity in Higher Education National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. César Edinho Del Pozo Loayza, 2018. "Efectos de la Desregulación del Sistema Universitario en el Mercado Laboral en Perú," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0235, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:223-61. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.