The Value of a College Degree

Good Essays

For many families, the idea that higher education for themselves or their children will automatically improve their social or economic status is a common one. In many situations this can be the case, however it is not universal. Additionally, many factors come into play when analyzing how intergenerational mobility does or does not occur. Some of these factors include existing social class, field of study, undergraduate vs. advanced degrees, race or gender, selection of institution, and parental resources. The general hypothesis of this study is “Is a College Degree Still the Great Equalizer?”
This issue was the source of study by Florencia Torche at New York University. Using different cohort groups and conducting various survey methods, …show more content…

However, this intergenerational status association is weaker among women. In the case of earnings mobility, a similar U-shaped pattern emerges. In cases of earnings distribution, those at the extreme ends of educational distribution show the strongest association (i.e. individuals with less than a college degree and advanced degree holders) indicating, “a college degree appears to still be a great equalizer among BA holders but not among advanced-degree holders” (Torche, 2011). So far, the analysis of intergenerational mobility as it relates to class, occupational status, and earnings has been restricted to labor market forces.
When family income mobility is studied, other factors are taken into account such as non-occupational resources and family-level processes. Specific examples that were taken into account included parental transfers of wealth and intergenerational reproduction as it relates to occupational mobility. While the results of this area of study closely resemble previously discussed results, one interesting point emerges. “The influence of parental income on sons’ income level is substantial among those without a college degree, it declines to insignificance among college graduates, and then it regains strength among advanced degree holders…” (Torche, 2011). This brings to light the issue of horizontal

Get Access