IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hka/wpaper/2017-059.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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
    Note: MIP
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://humcap.uchicago.edu/RePEc/hka/wpaper/Chetty_Friedman_Saez_etal_2017_mobility-report-cards.pdf
    File Function: First version, July 2017
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1308-1320, September.
    2. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
    3. Andrews, Rodney J. & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2020. "Recruiting and supporting low-income, high-achieving students at flagship universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    5. David J. Deming & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2012. "The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector: Nimble Critters or Agile Predators?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 139-164, Winter.
    6. Caroline Hoxby & Christopher Avery, 2013. "The Missing "One-Offs": The Hidden Supply of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 1-65.
    7. Goodman, Joshua, 2008. "Who merits financial aid?: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2121-2131, October.
    8. Joshua Angrist & David Autor & Sally Hudson & Amanda Pallais, 2014. "Leveling Up: Early Results from a Randomized Evaluation of Post-Secondary Aid," NBER Working Papers 20800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Justine S. Hastings & Christopher A. Neilson & Seth D. Zimmerman, 2013. "Are Some Degrees Worth More than Others? Evidence from college admission cutoffs in Chile," NBER Working Papers 19241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Where is the land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1553-1623.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30750027 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Jesse Rothstein & Albert H. Yoon, 2007. "Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do?," Working Papers 20, Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs, Education Research Section..
    13. Benjamin M. Marx & Lesley J. Turner, 2015. "Borrowing Trouble? Student Loans, the Cost of Borrowing, and Implications for the Effectiveness of Need-Based Grant Aid," NBER Working Papers 20850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    15. Pallais, Amanda & Turner, Sarah, 2006. "Opportunities for Low–Income Students at Top Colleges and Universities: Policy Initiatives and the Distribution of Students," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(2), pages 357-386, June.
    16. Christopher N. Avery & Mark E. Glickman & Caroline M. Hoxby & Andrew Metrick, 2013. "A Revealed Preference Ranking of U.S. Colleges and Universities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 425-467.
    17. Seth D. Zimmerman, 2014. "The Returns to College Admission for Academically Marginal Students," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(4), pages 711-754.
    18. Thomas J. Espenshade & Chang Y. Chung & Joan L. Walling, 2004. "Admission Preferences for Minority Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1422-1446, December.
    19. Christopher Avery & Caroline Hoxby & Clement Jackson & Kaitlin Burek & Glenn Pope & Mridula Raman, 2006. "Cost Should Be No Barrier: An Evaluation of the First Year of Harvard's Financial Aid Initiative," NBER Working Papers 12029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner & Danny Yagan, 2020. "The Determinants of Income Segregation and Intergenerational Mobility: Using Test Scores to Measure Undermatching," NBER Working Papers 26748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andrews, Rodney J. & Imberman, Scott A. & Lovenheim, Michael F., 2020. "Recruiting and supporting low-income, high-achieving students at flagship universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    3. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    4. Kirkebøen, Lars & Leuven, Edwin & Mogstad, Magne, 2014. "Field of Study, Earnings, and Self-Selection," Memorandum 29/2014, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    5. Rodney J. Andrews & Kevin M. Stange, 2019. "Price Regulation, Price Discrimination, and Equality of Opportunity in Higher Education: Evidence from Texas," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 31-65, November.
    6. Saltiel, Fernando, 2020. "Gritting it out: The importance of non-cognitive skills in academic mismatch," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    7. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2017. "Risky Business? The Effect of Majoring in Business on Earnings and Educational Attainment," NBER Working Papers 23575, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Aguirre, Josefa & Matta, Juan, 2021. "Walking in your footsteps: Sibling spillovers in higher education choices," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    9. Nicolás de Roux & Evan Riehl, 2019. "Isolating Peer Effects in the Returns to College Selectivity," Documentos CEDE 017413, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    10. Suqin Ge & Elliott Isaac & Amalia Miller, 2018. "Elite Schools and Opting In: Effects of College Selectivity on Career and Family Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 25315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Goodman, Joshua & Hurwitz, Michael & Smith, Jonathan, 2015. "College Access, Initial College Choice and Degree Completion," Working Paper Series rwp14-030, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    12. 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.
    13. Laajaj, Rachid & Moya, Andrés & Sánchez, Fabio, 2022. "Equality of opportunity and human capital accumulation: Motivational effect of a nationwide scholarship in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    14. Juliana Londono-Velez & Catherine Rodriguez & Fabio Sánchez?, 2017. "The Intended and Unintended Impacts of a Merit-Based Financial Aid Program for the Poor: The Case of Ser Pilo Paga," Documentos CEDE 015466, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    15. Shomon Shamsuddin, 2016. "Berkeley or Bust? Estimating the Causal Effect of College Selectivity on Bachelor’s Degree Completion," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(7), pages 795-822, November.
    16. Smith, Jonathan, 2013. "Ova and out: Using twins to estimate the educational returns to attending a selective college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 166-180.
    17. Page, Lindsay C. & Scott-Clayton, Judith, 2016. "Improving college access in the United States: Barriers and policy responses," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 4-22.
    18. Hastings, Justine S. & Neilson, Christopher A. & Ramirez, Anely & Zimmerman, Seth D., 2016. "(Un)informed college and major choice: Evidence from linked survey and administrative data," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 136-151.
    19. Alonso Bucarey & Dante Contreras & Pablo Muñoz, 2018. "Labor Market Returns to Student Loans," Working Papers wp464, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    20. Maia Güell & Michele Pellizzari & Giovanni Pica & José V. Rodríguez Mora, 2018. "Correlating Social Mobility and Economic Outcomes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 353-403, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income mobility; college students; role of education;
    All these keywords.

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2017-059. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/mfichus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Jennifer Pachon (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/mfichus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.