Women’s College Advantage and Public Perception of College Value in the Labor Market

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Principal investigator:

Amanda Mireles

University of California Merced

Email: amireles5@ucmerced.edu

Homepage: https://www.ucmerced.edu/content/amanda-mireles

Sample size: 2331

Field period: 03/04/2018-06/04/2018

This project asks whether the feminization of colleges and universities shapes perceptions of college graduates from institutions where women earn more degrees. I draw on original survey-experimental data collected from a representative sample of U.S. adults to test how the gender composition of men’s and women’s degree-granting institutions affects their chances of being selected for a job interview.
(1) Feminization will lead to labor market devaluation of the college degree for both male and female job applicants
(2) Feminization will lead to greater labor market devaluation of the college degree for female job applicants compared to male job applicants.
Experimental Manipulations
(1) Gender composition of the college
(2) Gender of the applicant
(1) Interview decision
(2) Salary decision
Summary of Results
The results suggest that college feminization, as measured by a college’s gender composition, has very different labor market consequences for men and women college graduates of feminized institutions. Unlike occupational feminization, college feminization does not lead to an across-the-board devaluation of the college credential. Rather, devaluation unfolds as a gendered process. Although college feminization has little impact on whether women are recommended for an interview, men who have attended feminized colleges are penalized in interview recommendations.
Mireles, Amanda. 2021. "Moving the Mark: College Feminization and the Value of the College Degree." Working Paper. University of California, Merced. Merced, CA.