Do Sheepskin Effects Vary by Gender and Race? An Evaluation of the Return to College Degrees 1993 – 2003

Ronald C. Caldwell, University of Kansas
Donna K. Ginther, University of Kansas

We evaluate how changes in college enrollments and graduation by gender and race are related to changes in the return to college degrees using the 1993 and 2003 National Survey of College Graduates. Unlike previous studies our preliminary results indicate that the return to Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, and Doctorate degrees vary significantly by gender and race. The returns on bachelor’s degrees for women are between 26 to 27 percent lower than for men. The return on a woman’s professional degree was 24.5 percent lower than a man’s in 1993 and the difference grew to 30 percent by 2003. Blacks lost similar ground compared to white men over the decade. Although there were no differences in the returns to professional degrees between blacks and whites in 1993, by 2003 the return on a black’s professional degree was 13.3 percent lower.

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Presented in Session 144: Higher Education