Research in Higher Education

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 437–459

Post-Baccalaureate Wage Growth within Four Years of Graduation: The Effects of College Quality and College Major

Article

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of college quality and academic major on the earnings of a nationally representative sample of baccalaureate recipients. We extend previous work in this area by analyzing the magnitude of change in the influence of these factors at two points in the early career of these graduates. Our results demonstrate that, despite significant variation, graduates from higher quality colleges enjoy a greater rate of growth in earnings during their early career. We also show that growth in earnings varies significantly by the graduates’ major field of study. Wage growth for women and racial minorities is also examined.

Keywords

college quality academic major labor market outcomes human capital 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Becker, G. S. 1993Human Capital:A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Specific Reference to Education (3rd Ed.)The University of Chicago PressChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. Berger, M. 1988Predicted future earnings and choice of college majorIndustrial and Labor Relations Review41418429Google Scholar
  3. Borjas, G. 1996Labor EconomicsMcGraw-HillNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P., Passeron, J. 1977Reproduction in Education, Society, and CultureSageLondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Brewer, D., Ehrenberg, R. 1996Does it pay to attend an elite private college? Evidence from the senior class of 1980Research in Labor Economics15239272Google Scholar
  6. Brewer, D., Eide, E., Ehrenberg, R. 1999Does it pay to attend an elite private college? Cross cohort evidence on the effects of college type on earningsJournal of Human Resources34104123Google Scholar
  7. S. B. Dale A. Krueger 1999 Estimating the Payoff to Attending a More Selective College Princeton University Working Paper No. 409, Industrial Relations Section.Google Scholar
  8. Ehrenberg, R. G., Smith, R. S. 2003Modern Labor Economics:Theory and Public Policy (8th Ed.)Addison WesleyBostonGoogle Scholar
  9. Eide, E. 1994College major choice and changes in the gender wage gapContemporary Economic Policy75564Google Scholar
  10. Eide, E., Waehrer, G. 1998The role of the option value of college attendance in college major choiceEconomics of Education Review177382Google Scholar
  11. England, P. 1982The failure of human capital theory to explain occupational sex segregationJournal of Human Resources1735870Google Scholar
  12. England, P. 1992Comparable Worth:Theories and EvidenceAldine De GruyterNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Ethington, C. A., Thomas, S. L., Pike, G. 2002

    Regression as it should be: Back to the basics

    Smart, J. eds. Higher Education:Handbook of Theory and ResearchVOl. XVIIAgathon PressNew York263294
    Google Scholar
  14. Farley, R. 1980The long road:Blacks and Whites in AmericaAmerican Demographics21117Google Scholar
  15. Fox, M. 1993Is it a good investment to attend an elite private college?Economics of Education Review12137151Google Scholar
  16. Greene, W. H. 1993Econometric Analysis (2nd Ed.)MacmillanNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Griffin, L., Alexander, K. 1978Schooling and socioeconomic attainments: High school and college influencesAmerican Journal of Sociology84319347Google Scholar
  18. Grodsky, E., Pager, D. 2001The structure of disadvantage: Individual and occupational determinants of the black-white wage gapAmerican Sociological Review66542567Google Scholar
  19. Grogger, J., Eide, E. 1995Changes in college skills and the rise in the college wage premiumJournal of Human Resources30280310Google Scholar
  20. Hansmann, H. 1999. Higher education as an associative good. The Forum for the Future of Higher Education, Available online:http://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ffp9901s.pdf. Google Scholar
  21. Heck, R. H., Thomas, S. L. 2000An Introduction to Multilevel ModelingLawrence ErlbaumMahwah, NJGoogle Scholar
  22. Hecker, D. 1998Earnings of college graduates:Women compared with menMonthly Labor Review1216271Google Scholar
  23. Heckman, J. 1979Sample selection bias as a specification errorEconometrica47153161Google Scholar
  24. Heckman, J. 1980

    Addendum to sample selection bias as a specification error

    Stormsdorfer, E.Farkas, G. eds. Evaluation Studies Review AnnualSageBeverly Hills, CA153161
    Google Scholar
  25. James, E., Alsalam, N. 1993

    College choiceacademic achievement and future earnings

    Hoffman, E. P. eds. Essays on the Economics of EducationW.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment ResearchKalamazoo MI111137
    Google Scholar
  26. James, E., Alsalam, N., Conaty, J., To, D. 1989College quality and future earnings: Where should you send your child to college?American Economic Review79247252Google Scholar
  27. Jones, E., Jackson, J. 1990College grades and labor market rewardsJournal of Human Resources25253266Google Scholar
  28. Karabel, J., Astin, A. 1975Social class, academic ability, and college qualitySocial Forces53381398Google Scholar
  29. Kominski, R., Adams, A. 1994Educational Attainment in the United States:March 1993 and 1992 (Current Population Reports, Population Characteristics P20-476)Government Printing OfficeWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  30. MacPherson, D., Hirsch, B. 1995Wages and gender composition: Why do women’s jobs pay less?Journal of Labor Economics1342671Google Scholar
  31. Mortenson, T. 2003. Undergraduate degree completion by age 25–29 for those who enter college 1947–2002 (Report no. 137). Postsecondary Education Opportunity, Available online:http://www.postsecondary.org.. Google Scholar
  32. Mueller, R. 1988The impact of college selectivity on income for men and womenResearch in Higher Education29175191Google Scholar
  33. Mullen, A., Goyette, K., Soares, J. 2003Who goes to graduate school? Social and academic correlates of educational continuation after collegeSociology of Education76143169Google Scholar
  34. National Center for Education Statistics1999Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study:1993/97 Second Follow-up Methodology ReportNCES 99–159U.S. Department of EducationWashington, DCGoogle Scholar
  35. Rumberger, R. 1984The changing economic benefits of college graduatesEconomics of Education Review3311Google Scholar
  36. Rumberger, R., Thomas, S. 1993The economic returns to college quality, majorand performanceEconomics of Education Review12119Google Scholar
  37. Schultz, T. W. 1961

    Education and economic growth

    Henry, N. B. eds. Social Forces Influenceing American EducationUniversity of Chicago PressChicago
    Google Scholar
  38. Sewell, W. H., Hauser, R. M. 1975Education, Occupation, and Earnings:Achievement in the Early CareerAcademic PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  39. Simpson, J. 2001Segregated by subject:racial differences in the factors influencing academic major between Euro-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latino-, African-, and Native AmericansThe Journal of Higher Education7263100Google Scholar
  40. Smart, J. 1988College influences on graduates income levelsResearch in Higher Education294159Google Scholar
  41. Solmon, L. 1973

    The definition and impact of college quality

    Solmon, L.Taubman, P. eds. Does College Matter?Academic PressNew York
    Google Scholar
  42. Solmon, L. 1975The definition of college quality and its impact on earningsExploring Economic Research2537588Google Scholar
  43. Spence, M. 1974Market signalingHarvard University PressCambridgeMAGoogle Scholar
  44. Stolzenberg, R., Relles, D. 1997Tools for intuition about sample selection bias and its correctionAmerican Sociological Review62494507Google Scholar
  45. Thomas, G. 1994Black College Students and Factors Influencing Their Major Field ChoiceCenter for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreMDGoogle Scholar
  46. Thomas, S. L. 2000Deferred costs and economic returns to college quality, majorand academic performanceResearch in Higher Education41281313Google Scholar
  47. Thomas, S. L. 2003Longer-term economic effects of college selectivity and controlResearch in Higher Education44263299Google Scholar
  48. Trent, W. 1984Equity considerations in higher education:Race and sex differences in degree attainment and major fields from 1976 through 1981American Journal of Education92280305Google Scholar
  49. Trusheim, D., Crouse, J. 1981Effects of college prestige on men’s occupational status and incomeResearch in Higher Education14283304Google Scholar
  50. Winston, G. 1996The Economic Structure of Higher Education:Subsidies, Customer-inputs, and HierarchyWilliams CollegeWilliamstown, MA(Report no. 40). Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  51. Winston, G. 1997Why can’t a college be more like a firm?Change293239Google Scholar
  52. Winston, G., Yen, I. C. 1995Costs, Prices, Subsidies, and Aid in U.S. Higher EducationWilliams CollegeWilliamstown, MA(Report no. 32). Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education.Google Scholar
  53. Winston, G., Zimmerman, D. forthcoming

    Peer Effects in Higher Education

    Hoxby, C. eds. College Decisions: How Students Actually Make Them and How They CouldUniversity of Chicago Press for the NBERChicago
    Google Scholar
  54. Wise, D. 1975Academic achievement and job performanceAmerican Economics Review65350366Google Scholar
  55. Zellner, A. 1962An efficient method of estimating seemingly unrelated regressions and tests for aggregation biasJournal of the American Statistical Society57348368Google Scholar
  56. Zellner, A. 1963Estimators for seemingly unrelated regression equations: Some exact finite sample resultsJournal of the American Statistical Society58977992Google Scholar
  57. Zellner, A., Huang, D. S. 1962Further properties of efficient estimators for seemingly unrelated regression equationsInternational Economic Review3300313Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Industrial and Labor RelationsCornell UniversityIthaca
  2. 2.Institute of Higher EducationUniversity of GeorgiaAthens30602

Personalised recommendations