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The Impact of Degree Class on the First Destinations of Graduates: A Regression Discontinuity Approach

  • Di Pietro, Giorgio

    ()

    (University of Westminster)

This paper uses a regression-discontinuity design to identify the causal impact of degree class on the first destinations of UK graduates. We exploit the discontinuous relationship between degree class and the mean grade achieved by graduates in their last year at university, which is induced by the administrative rules used for the determination of degree class. More specifically, we compare the average first-destination outcome of graduates with a mean grade that just allowed them to get a given class of degree with the average first-destination outcome of those with a mean grade that made them just miss the chance of achieving the same class of degree. Our empirical analysis focuses on graduates who graduated from a post-1992 university in the period January-July 2008. The results are consistent with the view that degree class does not truly affect the first destinations of graduates, but it picks up the effect of other ability indicators that are typically not observed by researchers. Hence this finding questions the signaling role of degree class.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4836.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4836
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  1. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2008. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," NBER Working Papers 13951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Urquiola, Miguel & Verhoogen, Eric, 2007. "Class Size and Sorting in Market Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 2963, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail & Naylor, Robin, 2000. "Graduate Employability: Policy and Performance in Higher Education in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(464), pages F382-411, June.
  4. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
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  8. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  9. Norman Ireland & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy Smith & Shqiponja Telhaj, 2009. "Educational returns, ability composition and cohort effects: theory and evidence for cohorts of early-career UK graduates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28608, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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  15. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
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  17. Naylor, Robin & Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail, 2002. "Why Is There a Graduate Earnings Premium for Students from Independent Schools?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 315-39, October.
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