Jie Gong, National University of Singapore

Melbourne Institute Seminar

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Title: The Returns to an Additional Year of Education for College Graduates

Abstract: This paper estimates the returns to an additional year of undergraduate education among students who would otherwise graduate with a bachelor's degree using administrative student records merged with survey data on earnings from the largest public university in Singapore. We use a regression discontinuity design that exploits the fact that in some faculties, enrollment in the fourth (honors) year is governed by a grade-based eligibility rule. Students with average grades in their third year just above the threshold are significantly more likely to complete the fourth year and have higher earnings six months after graduation relative to students who narrowly missed the grades cutoff. The implied earnings return to the additional year of college is about 11%. Although the compliers in our setting are students drawn from the middle of the ability distribution, interestingly, our estimated returns are comparable to that for low-performing students in the US who are at the margin of college admission and dismissal.

Presenter: Jie Gong, National University of Singapore

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