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Heterogeneous Paths Through College: Detailed Patterns and Relationships with Graduation and Earnings

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  • Rodney Andrews
  • Jing Li
  • Michael Lovenheim

Abstract

A considerable fraction of college students and bachelor's degree recipients enroll in multiple postsecondary institutions. Despite this fact, there is scant research that examines the nature of the paths - both the number and types of institutions - that students take to obtain a bachelor's degree or through the higher education system more generally. We also know little about enrollment in multiple institutions of varying quality relates to postgraduate life outcomes. We use a unique panel data set from Texas that allows us to both examine in detail the paths that students take towards a bachelor's degree and estimate how multiple institution enrollment is related to degree completion and subsequent earnings. We show that the paths to a bachelor's degree are diverse and that earnings and BA receipt vary systematically with these paths. Our results call attention to the importance of developing a more complete understanding of why students transfer and what causal role transferring has on the returns to postsecondary educational investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Andrews & Jing Li & Michael Lovenheim, 2014. "Heterogeneous Paths Through College: Detailed Patterns and Relationships with Graduation and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 19935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19935 Note: ED LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Long, Mark C., 2010. "Changes in the returns to education and college quality," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 338-347, June.
    2. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
    3. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-157, July.
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    6. Stacy Berg Dale & Alan B. Krueger, 2002. "Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College: An Application of Selection on Observables and Unobservables," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1491-1527.
    7. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1996. "Does It Pay To Attend An Elite Private College? Cross Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Quality on Earnings," NBER Working Papers 5613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Audrey Light & Wayne Strayer, 2004. "Who Receives the College Wage Premium?: Assessing the Labor Market Returns to Degrees and College Transfer Patterns," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    9. Josh Kinsler & Ronni Pavan, 2011. "Family Income and Higher Education Choices: The Importance of Accounting for College Quality," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(4), pages 453-477.
    10. Kane, Thomas J & Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Labor-Market Returns to Two- and Four-Year College," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 600-614, June.
    11. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2012. "Increasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 7(4), pages 375-424, September.
    12. Dominic J. Brewer & Eric R. Eide & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "Does It Pay to Attend an Elite Private College? Cross-Cohort Evidence on the Effects of College Type on Earnings," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 104-123.
    13. Rodney J. Andrews & Jing Li & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2012. "Quantile Treatment Effects of College Quality on Earnings: Evidence from Administrative Data in Texas," NBER Working Papers 18068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2006. "Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 701-728, July.
    15. Mark Hoekstra, 2009. "The Effect of Attending the Flagship State University on Earnings: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 717-724, November.
    16. Michael F. Lovenheim & C. Lockwood Reynolds, 2011. "Changes in Postsecondary Choices by Ability and Income: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 70-109.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0570-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rodney J. Andrews & Scott A. Imberman & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "Recruiting and Supporting Low-Income, High-Achieving Students at Flagship Universities," NBER Working Papers 22260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Peter Arcidiacono & Michael Lovenheim, 2016. "Affirmative Action and the Quality-Fit Trade-Off," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(1), pages 3-51, March.
    4. repec:spr:reihed:v:59:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9457-z is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Rodney J. Andrews & John Thompson, 2017. "Earning your CAP: A Comprehensive Analysis of The University of Texas System's Coordinated Admissions Program," NBER Working Papers 23442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ost, Ben & Pan, Weixiang & Webber, Douglas A., 2016. "The Returns to College Persistence for Marginal Students: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from University Dismissal Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 9799, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Jacob P. K. Gross & Matthew S. Berry, 2016. "The Relationship Between State Policy Levers and Student Mobility," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 57(1), pages 1-27, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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