Returns to Education Quality for Low-Skilled Students: Evidence from a Discontinuity

68 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2014 Last revised: 22 Dec 2016

See all articles by Serena Canaan

Serena Canaan

American University of Beirut

Pierre Mouganie

Texas A&M University

Date Written: February 2016

Abstract

This paper studies the labor market returns to quality of higher education for low-skilled students. Using a regression discontinuity design, we compare students who marginally pass and marginally fail the French high school exit exam from the first attempt. Threshold crossing leads to an improvement in the quality, but has no effect on the quantity of higher education pursued. Specifically, students who marginally pass are more likely to enroll in STEM majors and universities with better peers. Marginally passing also increases earnings by 12.5 percent at the age of 27 to 29. Our findings show that low-skilled students experience large gains from having the opportunity to access higher quality postsecondary education.

Keywords: Quality of education, returns to education, regression discontinuity design

JEL Classification: H52, I21, I28, J24

Suggested Citation

Canaan, Serena and Mouganie, Pierre, Returns to Education Quality for Low-Skilled Students: Evidence from a Discontinuity (February 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2518067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2518067

Serena Canaan (Contact Author)

American University of Beirut ( email )

Beirut, 0236
Lebanon

Pierre Mouganie

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
College Station, TX 77843-3137
United States

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