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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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    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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