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Who Receives the College Wage Premium?: Assessing the Labor Market Returns to Degrees and College Transfer Patterns

Audrey Light () and Wayne Strayer

Journal of Human Resources, 2004, vol. 39, issue 3

Abstract: Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we estimate wage models in which college-educated workers are classified according to their degree attainment, college type, and college transfer status. The detailed taxonomy produces modest improvements in explanatory power relative to standard specifications, and reveals considerable heterogeneity in the predicted wages of college-educated workers. We find that transfer students receive an “indirect” wage benefit insofar as changing colleges allows them to earn a degree. Some transfer students receive an additional “direct” wage benefit, presumably because switching schools increases their skill investment opportunities.

Date: 2004
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