Matching in the Dark? Inequalities in student to degree match
This paper examines inequalities in the match between student and degree quality using linked administrative data from schools, universities and tax authorities. We analyse two measures of match at the university-subject level: undergraduate enrollment qualifications, and graduate earnings. We find for both that disadvantaged students match to lower quality degrees across the entire distribution of achievement, in a setting with uniform fees and a generous financial aid system. While there are negligible gender gaps in academic match, high-attaining women systematically undermatch in terms of expected earnings, driven by subject choice. These inequalities in match are largest among the most undermatched.
We thank Paul Gregg, Sandra McNally, John Friedman, Peter Bergman and Leigh Linden for helpful comments, as well as seminar participants at Austin, Columbia, CEP, Cornell, ISER, and Queen's Belfast, workshop participants at Catanzaro, IAB, and York, and conference participants at APPAM, EALE, ESPE, RES and SOLE. We also thank the editor and anonymous reviewer for highly useful comments. Wyness, Macmillan and Campbell acknowledge Nuffield Foundation funding (172585). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Stuart Campbell & Lindsey Macmillan & Richard Murphy & Gill Wyness, 2022. "Matching in the Dark? Inequalities in Student to Degree Match," Journal of Labor Economics, vol 40(4), pages 807-850.