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Why Is an Elite Undergraduate Education Valuable? Evidence from Israel

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  • Kevin Lang
  • Erez Siniver

Abstract

In this paper we compare the labor market performance of Israeli students who graduated from one of the leading universities, Hebrew University (HU), with those who graduated from a professional undergraduate college, College of Management Academic Studies (COMAS). Our results support a model in which employers have good information about the quality of HU graduates and pay them according to their ability, but in which the market has relatively little information about COMAS graduates. Hence, high-skill COMAS graduates are initially treated as if they were the average COMAS graduate, who is weaker than a HU graduate, consequently earning less than UH graduates. However, over time the market differentiates among them so that after several years of experience, COMAS and HU graduates with similar entry scores have similar earnings. Our results are therefore consistent with the view that employers use education information to screen workers but that the market acquires information fairly rapidly.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Lang & Erez Siniver, 2011. "Why Is an Elite Undergraduate Education Valuable? Evidence from Israel," NBER Working Papers 16730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16730
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    Cited by:

    1. Suhonen, Tuomo, 2013. "Are there returns from university location in a state-funded university system?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 465-478.
    2. Light, Audrey & McGee, Andrew, 2015. "Does employer learning vary by schooling attainment? The answer depends on how career start dates are defined," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 57-66.
    3. Douglas Coate, 2017. "Varsity Sports Participation, College Selectivity, and First Job in Investment Banking or Management Consulting in the US," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2017-001, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
    4. Milla, Joniada, 2017. "The Context-Bound University Selectivity Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 11025, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Brad J. Hershbein, 2013. "Worker Signals among New College Graduates: The Role of Selectivity and GPA," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 13-190, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    6. Sarah R. Cohodes & Joshua S. Goodman, 2014. "Merit Aid, College Quality, and College Completion: Massachusetts' Adams Scholarship as an In-Kind Subsidy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 251-285, October.
    7. Broecke, Stijn, 2012. "University selectivity and earnings: Evidence from UK data on applications and admissions to university," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 96-107.
    8. Cohodes, Sarah & Goodman, Joshua, 2012. "First Degree Earns: The Impact of College Quality on College Completion Rates," Working Paper Series rwp12-033, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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