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Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility

Author

Listed:
  • Raj Chetty

    (Harvard University)

  • John N. Friedman

    () (Brown University)

  • Emmanuel Saez

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Nicholas Turner

    () (US Treasury)

  • Danny Yagan

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

We characterize intergenerational income mobility at each college in the United States using data for over 30 million college students from 1999-2013. We document four results. First, access to colleges varies greatly by parent income. For example, children whose parents are in the top 1% of the income distribution are 77 times more likely to attend an Ivy League college than those whose parents are in the bottom income quintile. Second, children from low- and high-income families have similar earnings outcomes conditional on the college they attend, indicating that low-income students are not mismatched at selective colleges. Third, rates of upward mobility – the fraction of students who come from families in the bottom income quintile and reach the top quintile – differ substantially across colleges because low-income access varies significantly across colleges with similar earnings outcomes. Rates of bottom-to-top quintile mobility are highest at certain mid-tier public universities, such as the City University of New York and California State colleges. Rates of upper-tail (bottom quintile to top 1%) mobility are highest at elite colleges, such as Ivy League universities. Fourth, the fraction of students from low-income families did not change substantially between 2000-2011 at elite private colleges, but fell sharply at colleges with the highest rates of bottom-to-top-quintile mobility. Although our descriptive analysis does not identify colleges’ causal effects on students’ outcomes, the publicly available statistics constructed here highlight colleges that deserve further study as potential engines of upward mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner & Danny Yagan, 2017. "Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility," Working Papers 2017-059, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2017-059
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Zhifeng & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2018. "College Tuition and Income Inequality," Staff Report 569, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    2. Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2018. "University selectivity and the relative returns to higher education: Evidence from the UK," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 230-249.
    3. Goodman, Joshua & Gurantz, Oded & Smith, Jonathan, 2018. "Take Two! SAT Retaking and College Enrollment Gaps," Working Paper Series rwp18-031, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Bleemer , Zachary, 2018. "The Effect Of Selective Public Research University Enrollment: Evidence From California," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt2b22k86h, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    5. Weinstein, Russell, 2018. "Employer screening costs, recruiting strategies, and labor market outcomes: An equilibrium analysis of on-campus recruiting," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 282-299.
    6. Alex Bell & Raj Chetty & Xavier Jaravel & Neviana Petkova & John Van Reenen, 2017. "Who Becomes an Inventor in America? The Importance of Exposure to Innovation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1519, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    7. ANDREOLI Francesco & MUSSINI Mauro & PRETE Vincenzo, 2019. "Urban poverty: Theory and evidence from American cities," LISER Working Paper Series 2019-07, LISER.
    8. Eleanor Wiske Dillon & Jeffrey Smith, 2018. "The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges," Working Papers 2018-060, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    9. Eaton, C. & Kulkarni, K. & Birgeneau, Robert & Brady, Henry & Hout, Michael, 2017. "AFFORDING THE DREAM: Student Debt and State Need-Based Grant Aid for Public University Students," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt24j8945b, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    10. repec:eee:aosoci:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:21-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Weinstein, Russell, 2017. "Geography and Employer Recruiting," IZA Discussion Papers 11224, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Bleemer, Zachary, 2018. "THE UC CLIOMETRIC HISTORY PROJECT AND FORMATTED OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION by Zachary Bleemer, UC Berkeley CSHE 3.18 (February 2018)," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt2bd8d25p, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    13. Bleemer, Zachary, 2018. "The University of California ClioMetric History Project and Formatted Optical Character Recognition," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt1xp6g8nj, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    14. Eaton, Charlie & Kulkarni, Sheisha & Birgeneau, Robert & Brady, Henry & Hout, Michael, 2017. "AFFORDING THE DREAM: Student Debt and State Need-Based Grant Aid for Public University Students," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt093215zt, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.
    15. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:253-263 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:labeco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:48-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Bleemer, Zachary, 2018. "The Effect of Selective Public Research University Enrollment: Evidence from California," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt1cs1x5k2, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    18. Bleemer, Zachary, 2018. "The Uc Cliometric History Project And Formatted Optical Character Recognition," University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education qt9xz1748q, Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income mobility; college students; role of education;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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