A Multigenerational Perspective on the Returns to College Quality
Jordan Conwell

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Texas at Austin

Primary Discipline

Higher Education
This study will bring a multigenerational, family perspective to research on the returns to college quality and potential racial and gender differences in those returns. Previous studies on this topic have primarily relied on an individual and single-generation measure of returns. Most have assessed returns to college quality for individual income. This approach does not reflect the facts that college-goers 1) often partner with spouses who have similar educational credentials, thereby pooling economic resources along with their educational ones, and 2) then seek to pass on both types of advantages to their children. This project will build on this literature along those two lines, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth ââ?¬â?? 1979 Cohort (NLSY-79), the children born to women in this cohort (C-NLSY), and measures of college quality. First, I will assess whether the returns to college quality, and any racial and gender differences therein, vary across the outcomes of individual income, household income, and household wealth. Second, I will assess whether children receive returns to their mothersââ?¬â?¢ college quality for their own educational opportunities and outcomes, including their own college quality, and whether there are differences in these returns by childrenââ?¬â?¢s race and gender.
About Jordan Conwell
Jordan A. Conwell is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on trends and consequences of racial, social class, and gender inequality in education, with a particular interest in the multigenerational roles of families and finances in these educational processes, as inputs for children and as outputs for adults. Recent papers have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Journal of Marriage and Family and Sociology of Education. His work has previously been funded by a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. He completed a Ph.D. in Sociology at Northwestern University in 2017.

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