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The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates

  • Jepsen, Christopher

    ()

    (University College Dublin)

  • Troske, Kenneth

    ()

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Coomes, Paul A.

    ()

    (University of Louisville)

This paper provides among the first rigorous estimates of the labor-market returns to community college certificates and diplomas, as well as estimating the returns to the more commonly-studied associate's degrees. Using administrative data from Kentucky, we estimate panel-data models that control for differences among students in pre-college earnings and educational aspirations. Associate's degrees and diplomas have quarterly earnings returns of nearly $2,400 for women and $1,500 for men, compared with much smaller returns for certificates. There is substantial heterogeneity in returns across fields of study. Degrees, diplomas, and – for women – certificates correspond with higher levels of employment.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6902.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6902
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  1. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  2. Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein, 2012. "Evaluating Student Outcomes at For-Profit Colleges," NBER Working Papers 18201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Norton Grubb, W., 1997. "The returns to education in the sub-baccalaureate labor market, 1984-1990," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 231-245, June.
  4. Kevin M. Stange, 2012. "An Empirical Investigation of the Option Value of College Enrollment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 49-84, January.
  5. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part I: national studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 299-321, August.
  6. Jacobson, Louis & LaLonde, Robert J. & Sullivan, Daniel G., 2004. "Estimating the Returns to Community College Schooling for Displaced Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 1017, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
  8. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part II: state and local studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 401-414, October.
  9. Louis Jacobson & Robert J. Lalonde & Daniel Sullivan, 2005. "The Impact of Community College Retraining on Older Displaced Workers: Should We Teach Old Dogs New Tricks?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 398-415, April.
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