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The labor-market returns to community college degrees, diplomas and certificates

  • Christopher Jepsen

    (University College Dublin)

  • Kenneth Troske

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Paul Coomes

    (University of Louisville)

This paper provides among the first rigorous estimates of the labor-market returns to community college certificates and diplomas, as well as estimating the returns to the more commonly-studied associate’s degrees. Using administrative data from Kentucky, we estimate panel-data models that control for differences among students in pre-college earnings and educational aspirations. Associate’s degrees and diplomas have quarterly earnings returns of nearly $2,400 for women and $1,500 for men, compared with much smaller returns for certificates. There is substantial heterogeneity in returns across fields of study. Degrees, diplomas, and – for women – certificates correspond with higher levels of employment.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/geary/static/publications/workingpapers/gearywp201221.pdf
File Function: First version, 2012
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Paper provided by Geary Institute, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 201221 Classification-JEL.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 27 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201221
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  1. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  2. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part II: state and local studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 401-414, October.
  3. Grubb, W. Norton, 2002. "Learning and earning in the middle, part I: national studies of pre-baccalaureate education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 299-321, August.
  4. Duane E. Leigh & Andrew M. Gill, 1997. "Labor Market Returns to Community Colleges: Evidence for Returning Adults," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(2), pages 334-353.
  5. Kevin M. Stange, 2012. "An Empirical Investigation of the Option Value of College Enrollment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 49-84, January.
  6. Louis Jacobson & Robert LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2002. "Estimating the returns to community college schooling for displaced workers," Working Paper Series WP-02-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Kevin Lang & Russell Weinstein, 2012. "Evaluating Student Outcomes at For-Profit Colleges," NBER Working Papers 18201, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Norton Grubb, W., 1997. "The returns to education in the sub-baccalaureate labor market, 1984-1990," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 231-245, June.
  9. Louis Jacobson & Robert J. Lalonde & Daniel Sullivan, 2005. "The Impact of Community College Retraining on Older Displaced Workers: Should We Teach Old Dogs New Tricks?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 398-415, April.
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