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Title: Estimating Returns to College Attainment: Comparing Survey and State Administrative Data–Based Estimates
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Scott-Clayton, Judith
Wen, Qiao
Estimating Returns to College Attainment: Comparing Survey and State Administrative Data–Based Estimates
Evaluation Review published online (19 November 2018): DOI: 10.1177/0193841X18803247.
Also: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0193841X18803247
Cohort(s): NLSY97
Publisher: Sage Publications
Keyword(s): Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB); Cognitive Ability; College Enrollment; Earnings; Educational Attainment; Educational Returns; Geocoded Data; Migration Patterns; Mobility

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

Objectives: In this article, we use recent waves of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 to provide new, nationally representative, nonexperimental estimates of the returns to degrees, as well as to assess the possible limitations of single-state, administrative data–based estimates.

Research design: To do this, we explore the sensitivity of estimated returns to college, by testing different sample restrictions, inclusion of different sets of covariates, and alternative ways of treating out-of-state earnings to approximate the real-world limitations of state administrative databases.

Results: We find that failure to control for measures of student ability leads to upward bias, while limiting the sample to college enrollees only leads to an understatement of degree returns. On net, these two biases roughly balance out, suggesting that administrative data-based estimates may reasonably approximate true returns.

Conclusions: We conclude with a discussion of the relative advantages and disadvantages of survey versus administrative data for estimating returns to college as well as implications for research and policy efforts based upon single-state administrative databases.

Bibliography Citation
Scott-Clayton, Judith and Qiao Wen. "Estimating Returns to College Attainment: Comparing Survey and State Administrative Data–Based Estimates." Evaluation Review published online (19 November 2018): DOI: 10.1177/0193841X18803247.