Degrees of poverty: the relationship between family income background and the returns to education

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Author: Bartik, Timothy J.; Hershbein, Brad J.


Drawing on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document a startling empirical pattern: the career earnings premium from a four-year college degree (relative to a high school diploma) for persons from low-income backgrounds is considerably less than it is for those from higher-income backgrounds. For individuals whose family income in high school was above 1.85 times the poverty level, we estimate that career earnings for bachelor's graduates are 136 per cent higher than earnings for those whose education stopped at high school. However, for individuals whose family income during high...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Equity; Outcomes; Income; Qualifications

Keywords: Graduates; Return on education and training; Socioeconomic background; Educational level; Low income group; Longitudinal study

Geographic subjects: United States; North America

Published: Kalamazoo, Michigan: W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2018

Physical description: 53 p.

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Series: Upjohn Institute working paper; no. 18-284

Statement of responsibility: Timothy J. Bartik, Brad Hershbein

Resource type: Working paper

Call number: TD/TNC 132.586

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