The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates

51 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2012

See all articles by Christopher Jepsen

Christopher Jepsen

University College Dublin (UCD) - School of Economics

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics; University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Paul A. Coomes

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics

Abstract

This paper provides among the first rigorous estimates of the labor-market returns to community college certificates and diplomas, as well as estimating the returns to the more commonly-studied associate's degrees. Using administrative data from Kentucky, we estimate panel-data models that control for differences among students in pre-college earnings and educational aspirations. Associate's degrees and diplomas have quarterly earnings returns of nearly $2,400 for women and $1,500 for men, compared with much smaller returns for certificates. There is substantial heterogeneity in returns across fields of study. Degrees, diplomas, and – for women – certificates correspond with higher levels of employment.

Keywords: returns to school, community college, diploma, certificate

JEL Classification: J24

Suggested Citation

Jepsen, Christopher and Troske, Kenneth R. and Coomes, Paul A., The Labor-Market Returns to Community College Degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6902, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2161239

Christopher Jepsen (Contact Author)

University College Dublin (UCD) - School of Economics ( email )

Belfield
Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-4229 (Phone)
573-882-2697 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Paul A. Coomes

University of Louisville - College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States

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