Catching Up Is Hard to Do: Undergraduate Prestige, Elite Graduate Programs, and the Earnings Premium

49 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 30 Apr 2016

Joni Hersch

Vanderbilt University - Law School; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 28, 2014

Abstract

Income disparities arise not only from differences in the level of education but also from differences in status associated with an individual’s degree-granting college or university. While higher ability among those who graduate from elite undergraduate institutions may account for much of the earnings premium associated with elite education, ability should be largely equalized among those who graduate from similarly selective graduate programs. Few graduates of nonselective institutions earn post-baccalaureate degrees from elite institutions, and even when they do, undergraduate institutional prestige continues to influence earnings overall and among those with law, medical, graduate business and doctoral degrees.

Keywords: Education, Inequality, Graduate degrees, Professional labor markets, Earnings premium, Elite education

JEL Classification: I240, J240, J310, J440

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni, Catching Up Is Hard to Do: Undergraduate Prestige, Elite Graduate Programs, and the Earnings Premium (July 28, 2014). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 14-23; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473238 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2473238

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States

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