The Effects of College Selectivity on Labor Market Success: Race, Gender, and Horizontal Stratification in Higher Education
S. Gaddis

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Primary Discipline

Does graduating from a selective college give students an advantage in the labor market? Is this advantage the same for students from all social backgrounds? These questions are important to families, educators, policymakers, and researchers but the answers are not clear. Students select into colleges and majors on unobserved characteristics, introducing bias into observational models. Previous methods are unable to isolate mechanisms of the effect of college selectivity. My dissertation addresses these shortcomings through use of the first-ever computerized audit study of educational credentials. Using matched candidate pairs, I apply for 1080 jobs, varying college selectivity, major, race, and gender. I aim to establish the causal effect of college selectivity on labor market success and examine how race and gender moderate the effect. My dissertation contributes to our theoretical and empirical understanding of the possibilities and limits of education in reducing social inequality.
About S. Gaddis

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