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Program Design and Student Outcomes in Graduate Education

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffrey Groen
  • George Jakubson
  • Ronald G. Ehrenberg
  • Scott Condie
  • Albert Yung-Hsu Liu

Abstract

Doctoral programs in the humanities and related social sciences are characterized by high attrition and long times-to-degree. In response to these problems, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the Graduate Education Initiative (GEI) to improve the quality of graduate programs and in turn reduce attrition and shorten times-to-degree. Over a 10-year period starting in 1991, the Foundation provided a total of over $80 million to 51 departments at 10 major research universities. We estimate the impact of the GEI on attrition rates and times-to-degree using competing risk duration models and student-level data. The data span the start of the GEI and include information for students at a set of control departments. We estimate that the GEI had modest impacts on student outcomes in the expected directions: reducing attrition rates, reducing times-to-degree and increasing completion rates. The impacts of the GEI appear to have been driven in part by reductions in entering cohort size, improvements in financial support and increases in student quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Groen & George Jakubson & Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Scott Condie & Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, 2006. "Program Design and Student Outcomes in Graduate Education," NBER Working Papers 12064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12064 Note: ED LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John J. Siegfried & Wendy A. Stock, 2001. "So You Want to Earn a Ph.D. in Economics?: How Long Do You Think It Will Take?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 364-378.
    2. van Ours, J. C. & Ridder, G., 2003. "Fast track or failure: a study of the graduation and dropout rates of Ph D students in economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 157-166, April.
    3. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Panagiotis G. Mavros, 1995. "Do Doctoral Students' Financial Support Patterns Affect Their Times-To-Degree and Completion Probabilities?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 581-609.
    4. DesJardins, S. L. & Ahlburg, D. A. & McCall, B. P., 1999. "An event history model of student departure," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 375-390, June.
    5. David W. Breneman & Dean T. Jamison & Roy Radner, 1976. "The Ph.D. Production Process," NBER Chapters,in: Education as an Industry, pages 1-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pietro Garibaldi & Francesco Giavazzi & Andrea Ichino & Enrico Rettore, 2012. "College Cost and Time to Complete a Degree: Evidence from Tuition Discontinuities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 699-711, August.
    2. Stock, Wendy A. & Finegan, T. Aldrich & Siegfried, John J., 2009. "Can you earn a Ph.D. in economics in five years?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 523-537, October.
    3. Martin Ryan & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon, 2009. "Enhancing the comparability of self-rated skills-matching using anchoring vignettes," Open Access publications 10197/2066, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    4. Wendy A. Stock & John J. Siegfried & T. Aldrich Finegan, 2011. "Completion Rates and Time-to-Degree in Economics PhD Programs (with comments by David Colander, N. Gregory Mankiw, Melissa P. McInerney, James M. Poterba)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 176-188, May.
    5. Jeffrey A. Groen, 2016. "The Impact of Labor Demand on Time to the Doctorate," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(1), pages 43-69, Winter.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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