The effect of human capital on earnings: Evidence from a reform at Colombia's top university
Carolina Arteaga ()
Journal of Public Economics, 2018, vol. 157, issue C, 212-225
In this paper I test whether the return to college education is the result of human capital accumulation or instead reflects the fact that attending college signals higher ability to employers. I exploit a reform at Universidad de Los Andes, which in 2006 reduced the amount of coursework required to earn degrees in economics and business by 20% and 14%, respectively, but did not change the quality of incoming or graduating students. The size of the entering class, their average high school exit exam scores, and graduation rates were not affected by the reform, indicating that selection of students into the degrees remained the same. Using administrative data on wages and college attendance, I estimate that wages fell by approximately 16% in economics and 13% in business. These results suggest that human capital plays an important role in the determination of wages and reject a pure signaling model. Surveying employers, I find that the reduction in wages may have resulted from a decline in performance during the recruitment process, which led students to be placed in lower-quality firms. Using data from the recruitment process for economists at the Central Bank of Colombia, I find that the reform reduced the probability of Los Andes graduates' being hired by 17 percentage points.
Keywords: Education; Human capital; Signaling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I23 I25 I26 J24 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:157:y:2018:i:c:p:212-225
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba
More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Haili He ().