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Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?

Author

Listed:
  • Yan Lau

    (Reed College)

  • Harvey S. Rosen

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Observers have expressed concern about growing inequality in resources across universities. But are universities really becoming more unequal? We argue that the typical approach of examining endowment growth alone is not sensible. In line with the literature on household inequality, we focus instead on a comprehensive income measure. We find that although there is considerable inequality among institutions, concerns about the inexorable growth of inequality are overblown. Whether one looks at income, endowment wealth, or expenditure, inequality has been high but stable, exhibiting only negligible increases in recent years. Furthermore, there has been little mobility within the higher education sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Yan Lau & Harvey S. Rosen, 2015. "Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?," Working Papers 245, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:245
    as

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    File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/gceps/workingpapers/245rosen.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Jun-Koo Kang & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2014. "How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 931-962, March.
    2. Ehrenberg, R. G. & Smith, C. L., 2003. "The sources and uses of annual giving at selective private research universities and liberal arts colleges," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 223-235, June.
    3. William N. Goetzmann & Sharon Oster, 2013. "Competition among University Endowments," NBER Chapters,in: How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, pages 99-126 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    5. Raj Chetty & Nathaniel Hendren & Patrick Kline & Emmanuel Saez & Nicholas Turner, 2014. "Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 141-147, May.
    6. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-357, April.
    7. Philip Armour & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2013. "Deconstructing Income and Income Inequality Measures: A Crosswalk from Market Income to Comprehensive Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 173-177, May.
    8. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar & Jialan Wang, 2008. "Secrets of the Academy: The Drivers of University Endowment Success," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 207-222, Summer.
    9. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1982. "Stochastic Dominance, Mean Variance, and Gini's Mean Difference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 178-185, March.
    10. Oates, Wallace E., 1988. "On the measurement of congestion in the provision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 85-94, July.
    11. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2012. "American Higher Education in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 193-216, Winter.
    12. Stephen G. Dimmock, 2012. "Background Risk and University Endowment Funds," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 789-799, August.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Are Universities Becoming More Unequal?
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-07-22 18:26:54

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    Cited by:

    1. Harvey S. Rosen & Alexander J. W. Sappington, 2016. "What Do University Endowment Managers Worry About? An Analysis of Alternative Asset Investments and Background Income," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(4), pages 404-425, Fall.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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