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Why Have Girls Gone to College? A Quantitative Examination of the Female College Enrollment Rate in the United States: 1955-1980

  • Hui He

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

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This paper documents a dramatic increase in the college enrollment rate of women from 1955 to 1980 and asks a quantitative question: to what extent can such change be accounted for by the change in the female cohort-specific college wage premium? I develop and calibrate an overlapping generations model with discrete schooling choice. I find that changes in the life-cycle earnings differential can explain the increase in female college enrollment rate very well. Young women's changing expectations of future employment opportunity also played an important role in driving their college attendance decision from the mid 1950s to the early 1970s.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_09-12.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200912.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200912
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  1. Averett, Susan L. & Burton, Mark L., 1996. "College attendance and the college wage premium: Differences by gender," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 37-49, February.
  2. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 681-722, 08.
  3. Diego Restuccia & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2008. "The Evolution of Education: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Working Papers tecipa-339, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance John & Todd, Petra E., 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Virginia Sanchez Marcos, 2007. "What accounts for the increase in college attainment of women?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(1), pages 41-44.
  7. Stephen V. Cameron & Christopher Taber, 2004. "Estimation of Educational Borrowing Constraints Using Returns to Schooling," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(1), pages 132-182, February.
  8. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
  9. Salvador Navarro, 2011. "Using Observed Choices to Infer Agent's Information: Reconsidering the Importance of Borrowing Constraints, Uncertainty and Preferences in College Attendance," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20118, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  10. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Altonji, Joseph G, 1993. "The Demand for and Return to Education When Education Outcomes Are Uncertain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 48-83, January.
  12. Fang (Annie) Yang & Suqin Ge, 2008. "Accounting for the Gender Gap in College Attainment," Discussion Papers 08-02, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  13. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
  14. Jacob, Brian A., 2002. "Where the boys aren't: non-cognitive skills, returns to school and the gender gap in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 589-598, December.
  15. José-Víctor Ríos-Rull & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2002. "College Attainment of Women," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 965-998, October.
  16. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  17. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  18. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sanchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-52, September.
  19. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2002. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 784-815, October.
  20. Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 557-587, October.
  21. Carlos Garriga & Mark P. Keightley, 2013. "A General Equilibrium Theory of College with Education Subsidies, In-School Labor Supply, and Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 2013-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  22. Zvi Eckstein & Éva Nagypál, 2004. "The evolution of U.S. earnings inequality: 1961?2002," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Dec, pages 10-29.
  23. Gary S. Becker & William H. J. Hubbard & Kevin M. Murphy, 2010. "The Market for College Graduates and the Worldwide Boom in Higher Education of Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 229-33, May.
  24. He, Hui, 2012. "What drives the skill premium: Technological change or demographic variation?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1546-1572.
  25. Todd Schoellman & Lutz Hendricks, 2009. "Student Abilities During the Expansion of U.S. Education, 1950-2000," 2009 Meeting Papers 162, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  26. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2003. "Gender Differences in Completed Schooling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 559-577, August.
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