NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor

Susan Dynarski

NBER Working Paper No. 11604
Issued in September 2005
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

Half of college students drop out before completing a degree. These low rates of college completion among young people should be viewed in the context of slow future growth in the educated labor force, as the well-educated baby boomers retire and new workers are drawn from populations with historically low education levels. This paper establishes a causal link between college costs and the share of workers with a college education. I exploit the introduction of two large tuition subsidy programs, finding that they increase the share of the population that completes a college degree by three percentage points. The effects are strongest among women, with white women increasing degree receipt by 3.2 percentage points and the share of nonwhite women attempting or completing any years of college increasing by six and seven percentage points, respectively. A cost-benefit analysis indicates that tuition reduction can be a socially efficient method for increasing college completion. However, even with the offer of free tuition, a large share of students continue to drop out, suggesting that the direct costs of school are not the only impediment to college completion.

download in pdf format
   (250 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (250 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11604

Published: Susan Dynarski, 2008. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(3), pages 576-610. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Card w4483 Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling
Angrist, Lang, and Oreopoulos w12790 Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement
Dynarski w7422 Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion
Levy and Temin w13106 Inequality and Institutions in 20th Century America
Kane, Rockoff, and Staiger w12155 What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us