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Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality

Dan A. Black and Jeffrey A. Smith
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 24, No. 3, Program Evaluation, Human Capital, and Labor Market Public Policy: A Research Conference in Honor of Mark C. BergerWilliam R. Johnson, Coeditor, and James P. Ziliak, Guest CoeditorSponsored by UK Center for Poverty Research, Department of Economics, Center for Business and Economic Research, Gatton College of Business and Economics, and Office of the Executive Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky; and The W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment ResearchProgram Evaluation, Human Capital, and Labor Market Public Policy: A Research Conference in Honor of Mark C. BergerWilliam R. Johnson, Coeditor, and James P. Ziliak, Guest CoeditorSponsored by UK Center for Poverty Research, Department of Economics, Center for Business and Economic Research, Gatton College of Business and Economics, and Office of the Executive Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky; and The W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research (July 2006), pp. 701-728
DOI: 10.1086/505067
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/505067
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Estimating the Returns to College Quality with Multiple Proxies for Quality
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Abstract

Existing studies of the effects of college quality on wages typically rely on a single proxy variable for college quality. This study questions the wisdom of using a single proxy given that it likely contains substantial measurement error. We consider four econometric approaches to the problem that involve the use of multiple proxies for college quality: factor analysis, instruments variables, a method recently proposed by Lubotsky and Wittenberg, and a GMM estimator. Our estimates suggest that the existing literature understates the wage effects of college quality and illustrate the value of using multiple proxies in this and other similar contexts.

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