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What's Your College Degree Worth? A Research Project for the Labor Economics Course

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  • Robert J. Thornton

Abstract

Calculating the expected rate of return to their own college degree and comparing it to those of students with other majors can be an interesting and fruitful project for students in a labor economics course. Data from the surveys of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (not all that well known but available in most college career-planning and placement offices) allow students to use current starting salary offers reported for about 80 different major fields and another 80 types of occupations (first jobs) to estimate the financial payoffs to their college training. In this article, the author discusses the various steps, data sources needed, and caveats for students and instructors working this exercise.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Thornton, 2009. "What's Your College Degree Worth? A Research Project for the Labor Economics Course," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 166-172, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:40:y:2009:i:2:p:166-172
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.40.2.166-172
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