Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 183-201

First online:

College Quality, Earnings, and Job Satisfaction: Evidence from Recent College Graduates

  • Xiangmin LiuAffiliated withDepartment of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, The Pennsylvania State University Email author 
  • , Scott ThomasAffiliated withClaremont Graduate University
  • , Liang ZhangAffiliated withThe Pennsylvania State University

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This study investigates the relationship among college quality, earnings, and job satisfaction among a recent cohort of college graduates. Our results suggest that, controlling for earnings, college quality is negatively related to job satisfaction, especially to those aspects of the job that are associated with monetary rewards. Further analysis indicates that there is no significant difference between the male and female groups; however, the negative relationship between satisfaction with monetary rewards and college quality is mainly driven by the non-white group. These findings do not support the view that graduating from elite schools will necessarily lead to greater job satisfaction.


Earnings Job satisfaction Education College quality