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The Effect of College Quality on Earnings: Results from the N B E R-Thorndike Data

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  • Terence J. Wales

Abstract

Using Gourman's academic rating of colleges, we attempt to determine the extent to which returns to higher education (for a sample of 5,000) are due to quality of institution, after standardizing for various sociodemographic, background, and mental ability characteristics. Earnings of individuals in the top fifth of the undergraduate school quality distribution and in the top two fifths of the graduate distribution are significantly and substantially higher than earnings of others. However, it is unclear to what extent the quality variable is reflecting educational quality as opposed to individual scholastic abilities (by measuring selection of entrance to college).

Suggested Citation

  • Terence J. Wales, 1973. "The Effect of College Quality on Earnings: Results from the N B E R-Thorndike Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(3), pages 306-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:8:y:1973:i:3:p:306-317
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    Cited by:

    1. Ono, Hiroshi, 2000. "College Quality and Earnings in the Japanese Labor Market," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 395, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 11 Mar 2003.
    2. Kermit Daniel & Dan Black & Jeffery Smith, 1996. "College Characteristics and the Wages of Young Women," HEW 9604002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Loury, Linda Datcher & Garman, David, 1995. "College Selectivity and Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 289-308, April.
    4. Kermit Daniel & Dan Black & Jeffery Smith, 1996. "College Quality and the Wages of Young Men," HEW 9604001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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.

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