The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges

57 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018 Last revised: 3 Jul 2022

See all articles by Eleanor Wiske Dillon

Eleanor Wiske Dillon

Arizona State University (ASU)

Jeffrey A. Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

We consider the effects of student ability, college quality, and the interaction between the two on academic outcomes and earnings using data on two cohorts of college enrollees. Student ability and college quality strongly improve degree completion and earnings for all students. We find evidence of meaningful complementarity between student ability and college quality in degree completion at four years and long-term earnings, but not in degree completion at six years or STEM degree completion. This complementarity implies some tradeoff between equity and efficiency for policies that move lower ability students to higher quality colleges.

Suggested Citation

Dillon, Eleanor Wiske and Smith, Jeffrey Andrew, The Consequences of Academic Match between Students and Colleges (September 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25069, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3254044

Eleanor Wiske Dillon (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

No Address Available

Jeffrey Andrew Smith

University of Wisconsin - Madison

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

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