Research in Higher Education

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 175-191

First online:

The impact of college selectivity on income for men and women

  • Ralph O. MuellerAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Psychology, Research, and Social Foundations, The University of Toledo

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In this study a large national data set was used to assess the causal influence of college selectivity on earnings after controlling for a variety of background variables such as family background, financial considerations, academic ability, and degree aspirations. Using a recursive structural equation model, it was found that for both genders selectivity had a significant direct and indirect effect on earnings; however, selectivity could explain only a minute percentage of variance in income above and beyond the controls. Males and females differed slightly on the total effect of selectivity on earnings, but the indirect effect was twice as large for women as for men.