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The Earnings Effect Of Education At Community Colleges




" In this paper, I make use of data from the 2000 follow-up of the National Education Longitudinal Survey postsecondary education transcript files to extend what is known about the value of education at community colleges. I examine the effects of enrollment in community colleges on students' subsequent earnings. I estimate the effects of credits earned separately from credentials because community colleges are often used as a means for students to engage in study not necessarily leading to a degree or certificate. I find consistent evidence of wage and salary effects of both credits and degrees, especially for women. There is no substantial evidence that enrollment in vocational rather than academic coursework has a particularly beneficial effect, however. (JEL" I2, J24")" Copyright (c) 2009 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • Dave E. Marcotte, 2010. "The Earnings Effect Of Education At Community Colleges," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(1), pages 36-51, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:28:y:2010:i:1:p:36-51

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
    4. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
    5. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-1381, September.
    6. Alfonso, Mariana & Bailey, Thomas R. & Scott, Marc, 2005. "The educational outcomes of occupational sub-baccalaureate students: evidence from the 1990s," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 197-212, April.
    7. David T. Ellwood, 2001. "The Sputtering Labor Force of the 21st Century. Can Social Policy Help?," NBER Working Papers 8321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part II: state and local studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 401-414, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part I: national studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 299-321, August.
    11. Norton Grubb, W., 1997. "The returns to education in the sub-baccalaureate labor market, 1984-1990," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 231-245, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Holzer, Harry J. & Dunlop Velez, Erin, 2013. "Just the Facts, Ma'am: Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Outcomes in the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 7319, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Liu, Vivian Y.T. & Belfield, Clive R. & Trimble, Madeline J., 2015. "The medium-term labor market returns to community college awards: Evidence from North Carolina," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 42-55.
    3. Chung, Anna, 2008. "The Effects of For-Profit College Training on Earnings," MPRA Paper 18972, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2009.
    4. Geoff Mason, 2014. "Skills and training for a more innovation-intensive economy," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 431, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - 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


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