Does College Still Have Equalizing Effects?
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Does College Still Have Equalizing Effects? book
A college degree yields substantial economic returns. A college degree fulfills the promise of meritocracy: it offers equal opportunity for economic success regardless of the advantages of birth. College expansion and differentiation and the increase in post-baccalaureate advanced degrees define a new educational landscape that may have altered mobility patterns of college graduates. The association between social origins and college differentiation shapes inequality to the extent that college locations accessed by the upper class yield higher economic returns. A college degree erases the impact of socioeconomic origins on economic success. Intergenerational mobility among BA holders supports the hypothesis that labor markets for college graduates operate on the basis of meritocratic criteria. A meritocratic labor market would mean, that college graduates of lower-class origins have the same chances as their upper-class peers to access prestigious universities and lucrative fields of study and to engage in profitable occupations, and that they receive similar earnings conditional on their occupations.