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Has the College Wage Premium Continued to Rise? Evidence from Multiple U.S. Surveys

Author

Listed:
  • Ashworth, Jared

    () (Pepperdine University)

  • Ransom, Tyler

    () (University of Oklahoma)

Abstract

This paper examines trends in the college wage premium (CWP) by birth cohort across the five major household surveys in the United States: the Census/ACS, CPS, NLSY, PSID, and SIPP. We document a flattening in the CWP for birth cohorts 1978 and onward in each survey and even a decline for birth cohorts 1980–1985 in the NLSY and SIPP. We discuss potential reasons for this finding and show that the empirical discrepancy is not a function of differences in composition across surveys. Our results provide crucial context for the vast economic literatures that use these surveys to measure returns to skill, and intertemporal changes in those returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Ashworth, Jared & Ransom, Tyler, 2018. "Has the College Wage Premium Continued to Rise? Evidence from Multiple U.S. Surveys," IZA Discussion Papers 11657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11657
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Lisa B. Kahn & Jamin D. Speer, 2016. "Cashier or Consultant? Entry Labor Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 361-401.
    2. Christopher R. Bollinger & Barry T. Hirsch, 2006. "Match Bias from Earnings Imputation in the Current Population Survey: The Case of Imperfect Matching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 483-520, July.
    3. Jared Ashworth & V. Joseph Hotz & Arnaud Maurel & Tyler Ransom, 2017. "Changes across Cohorts in Wage Returns to Schooling and Early Work Experiences," NBER Working Papers 24160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Barry T. Hirsch & Edward J. Schumacher, 2004. "Match Bias in Wage Gap Estimates Due to Earnings Imputation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 689-722, July.
    5. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel & Neal, Derek, 2009. "Mismeasurement of usual hours worked in the census and ACS," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 39-41, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    college wage premium; returns to education;

    JEL classification:

    • I26 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Returns to Education
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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