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The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study

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Listed:
  • David J. Deming
  • Noam Yuchtman
  • Amira Abulafi
  • Claudia Goldin
  • Lawrence F. Katz

Abstract

We study employers’ perceptions of the value of postsecondary degrees using a field experiment. We randomly assign the sector and selectivity of institutions to fictitious resumes and apply to real vacancy postings for business and health jobs on a large online job board. We find that a business bachelor’s degree from a for-profit “online” institution is 22 percent less likely to receive a callback than one from a non-selective public institution. In applications to health jobs, we find that for-profit credentials receive fewer callbacks unless the job requires an external quality indicator such as an occupational license.

Suggested Citation

  • David J. Deming & Noam Yuchtman & Amira Abulafi & Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2014. "The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study," NBER Working Papers 20528, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20528
    Note: DAE ED LS
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    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

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