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The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges

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  • Eleanor Wiske Dillon
  • Jeffrey Andrew Smith

Abstract

We consider the effects of student ability, college quality, and the interaction between the two on academic outcomes and earnings, using data on two cohorts of college enrollees. Student ability and college quality strongly improve degree completion and earnings for all students. We find evidence of meaningful complementarity between student ability and college quality in degree completion at four years and in long-term earnings, but not in degree completion at six years or STEM degree completion. This complementarity implies some trade-off between equity and efficiency for policies that move lower-ability students to higher-quality colleges.

Suggested Citation

  • Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2020. "The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(3), pages 767-808.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:55:y:2020:i:3:p:767-808
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.55.3.0818-9702R1
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolás de Roux & Evan Riehl, 2019. "Isolating Peer Effects in the Returns to College Selectivity," Documentos CEDE 017413, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    2. Volker Meier & Ioana Cosmina Schiopu, 2015. "Why Academic Quality in Higher Education Declines," CESifo Working Paper Series 5480, CESifo.
    3. Djurdjica Perovic & Dijana Vuckovic, 2019. "Success in Studying at the University of Montenegro: Is there Hyper-production of Diplomas?," Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems - scientific journal, Croatian Interdisciplinary Society Provider Homepage: http://indecs.eu, vol. 17(2-B), pages 385-402.
    4. Lincove, Jane Arnold & Cortes, Kalena E., 2016. "Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students," IZA Discussion Papers 10150, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Gregory Veramendi, 2018. "Returns to Education: The Causal Effects of Education on Earnings, Health, and Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(S1), pages 197-246.
    6. Hotz, V. Joseph & Wiemers, Emily & Rasmussen, Joshua & Maxwell Koegel, Kate, 2018. "The Role of Parental Wealth and Income in Financing Children's College Attendance and Its Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 11842, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Ha, Wei & Kang, Le & Song, Yang, 2020. "College matching mechanisms and matching stability: Evidence from a natural experiment in China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 206-226.
    8. Stuart Campbell & Lindsey Macmillan & Richard Murphy & Gill Wyness, 2020. "Matching in the Dark? Inequalities in student to degree match," CEPEO Working Paper Series 20-01, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised Jan 2020.
    9. Stuart Campbell & Lindsey Macmillan & Richard Murphy & Gill Wyness, 2019. "Inequalities in Student to Course Match: Evidence from Linked Administrative Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp1647, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Geraint Johnes & Kwok Tong Soo, 2017. "Grades across Universities over Time," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 85(1), pages 106-131, January.
    11. Meier, Volker & Schiopu, Ioana, 2020. "Enrollment expansion and quality differentiation across higher education systems," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 43-53.
    12. Jack Mountjoy & Brent Hickman, 2020. "The Returns to College(s): Estimating Value-Added and Match Effects in Higher Education," Working Papers 2020-08, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    13. Susan Dynarski & C.J. Libassi & Katherine Michelmore & Stephanie Owen, 2018. "Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on College Choices of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 25349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jane Arnold Lincove & Kalena E. Cortes, 2016. "Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students," NBER Working Papers 22559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Andrew Smith, 2013. "The Determinants of Mismatch Between Students and Colleges," NBER Working Papers 19286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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