Panel iv postsecondary attainment and earnings
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PANEL IV: Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings. Just the Facts, Ma’am: Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Outcomes in the U.S .” Harry Holzer , Georgetown University & American Institutes for Research/ CALDER Erin Dunlop, American Institutes for Research / CALDER

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PANEL IV: Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings

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Panel iv postsecondary attainment and earnings

PANEL IV: Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings

Just the Facts, Ma’am: Postsecondary Education and Labor Market Outcomes in the U.S.”

Harry Holzer, Georgetown University & American Institutes for Research/ CALDER

Erin Dunlop, American Institutes for Research / CALDER

“Heterogeneous Paths Through College: Detailed Patterns and Relationships with Graduation and Earnings”

Rodney J. Andrews, University of Texas at Dallas/CALDER

Jing Li, University of Tulsa

Michael F. Lovenheim, Cornell University


Postsecondary attainment and earnings general thoughts

Postsecondary Attainment and Earnings: General Thoughts

  • H&D provide a reminder of just how dim the employment prospects are for those who fail to get a college degree, and Andrews et al. show that the path to college completion can also be quite important (more important than I would have guessed)

  • Value of different sources of data; national data illustrates long-term trends, state longitudinal data allows for more in-depth exploration over shorter time-span

    • Connecting the two papers: could the seemingly strange finding of math score on AA attainment (Holzer and Dunlop) be related to transfer behavior?

  • Both studies careful not to over-interpret findings

    • Generally great, but a bit more storyline (expectations) would also be helpful


Holzer and dunlop

Holzer and Dunlop

  • We are used to thinking that U.S. progress on education has stalled, but this isn’t really true for attainment

    • Huge progress for African Americans and Hispanics in reduction of dropout rates and increase in BA (larger % increase over time for Blacks than whites in BA attainment)

  • Specification: Does it matter if race/gender is interacted with measures of proficiency in earnings models?

  • Why is the GED becoming less popular?

    • Is it really? (some of the SIPP results jump around)

    • Are employers reading Heckman?

  • Understanding “Other” major; doubling from 1990 to 2001

    • Is it the case that there is a proliferation of new college majors?

    • Is this good or bad?


Andrews li lovenheim

Andrews, Li, & Lovenheim

  • 32% of students transfer at least once (and this is conservative)!

    • Not just expected types

  • More explanation for transfer behavior

    • Any way to simplify, transferring up or down?

    • Some type of model: is it about the fit?

      • Change in major/credit areas? Distance from home?

  • Arguably most interesting type of transfer is from 4YC (flagship in particular) to CC

    • Might also look at AA attainment

    • Worth noting how CC transfers grads do relative to CC grads

  • Lots of potentially interesting work on human capital acquisition looking at timing of transfers/credit accumulation at different types of institutions


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