What does the Dale and Krueger education paper really say?

It was reported in the media as showing that, controlling for all the right variables, going to an elite college or university as an undergraduate doesn't really matter for your future prospects or income.  But Robin Hanson, with money on the line, investigated further.  After reading the relevant pieces closely, he reports [what follows is Robin, not me, but with the multiple indentations I haven't indented everything again]:

"In fact his original 1998 working-paper abstract said:

We find that students who attended colleges with higher average SAT scores do not earn more than other students who were accepted and rejected by comparable schools but attended a college with a lower average SAT score.  However the Barron's rating of school selectivity and the tuition charged by the school are significantly related to the students' subsequent earnings. 

Half Sigma screams from the rooftops:

Based on the straightforward regression results in column 1, men who attend the most competitive colleges [according to Barron's 1982 ratings] earn 23 percent more than men who attend very competitive colleges, other variables in the equation being equal.

23 percent is quite a bit of money, it’s almost like getting two college degrees instead of one!  They also discovered that there was a benefit to attending a more expensive school. The more expensive tuition resulted in a lifetime internal rate of return of 20% for men and 25% for women."


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