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The Economic Returns to Graduating with Honors - Evidence from Law Graduates

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  • Schumann, Mathias
  • Freier, Ronny
  • Siedler, Thomas

Abstract

This paper studies the causal effects of graduating from university with an honors degree on subsequent labor market outcomes. While a rich body of literature has focused on estimating returns to human capital, few studies have analyzed returns at the very top of the education distribution. We highlight the importance of honors degrees for future labor market success in the context of German law graduates. Using a difference-in-differences research design combined with entropy balancing, we find that students of law who passed the state bar exam with an honors degree receive a significant earnings premium (about 14 percent), are more likely to work in public service (about 16 percentage points), are less likely to be self-employed (seven percentage points) and are more often engaged in Ph.D. studies (about 20 percentage points).

Suggested Citation

  • Schumann, Mathias & Freier, Ronny & Siedler, Thomas, 2014. "The Economic Returns to Graduating with Honors - Evidence from Law Graduates," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100338, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100338
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/100338/1/VfS_2014_pid_246.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giorgio Brunello & Margherita Fort & Guglielmo Weber, 2009. "Changes in Compulsory Schooling, Education and the Distribution of Wages in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 516-539, March.
    2. Hainmueller, Jens, 2012. "Entropy Balancing for Causal Effects: A Multivariate Reweighting Method to Produce Balanced Samples in Observational Studies," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 25-46, December.
    3. Battistin, Erich & De Nadai, Michele & Sianesi, Barbara, 2014. "Misreported schooling, multiple measures and returns to educational qualifications," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 181(2), pages 136-150.
    4. Matthias Parey & Fabian Waldinger, 2011. "Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labour Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of ERASMUS," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 194-222, March.
    5. Ronny Freier & Johanna Storck, 2012. "The Treatment Effect of Attending a High-Quality School and the Influence of Unobservables," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1256, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    6. Hainmueller, Jens & Xu, Yiqing, 2013. "ebalance: A Stata Package for Entropy Balancing," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 54(i07).
    7. Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian, 1995. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling for the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1278-1286, December.
    8. Barbara S. Grave & Katja Goerlitz, 2012. "Wage differentials by field of study -- the case of German university graduates," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 284-302, March.
    9. Di Pietro, Giorgio, 2010. "The Impact of Degree Class on the First Destinations of Graduates: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 791-821.
    11. repec:zbw:rwirep:0316 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Feng, Andy & Graetz, Georg, 2017. "A question of degree: The effects of degree class on labor market outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 140-161.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations

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