Field of Study Variation throughout the College Pipeline and Its Effect on the Earnings Gap: Differences between Ethnic and Immigrant Groups in Israel

Sigal Alon, Tel Aviv University

This study demonstrates the analytical leverage gained from considering the entire college pipeline—including the application, admission and graduation stages—in examining the economic position of various groups upon labor market entry. Using data from three elite universities in Israel, this investigation tracks field of study variation among different ethnic and immigrant groups throughout the college pipeline and quantifies the economic implications of this process. The findings reveal that the process that shapes economic inequality throughout the college pipeline is not necessarily cumulative. Field of study stratification does not expand systematically from stage to stage and the position of groups on the field of study hierarchy at each stage is not entirely explained by academic preparation. These findings suggest that a cross-sectional assessment of field of study inequality at the graduation stage can generate misleading conclusions about group-based economic inequality among workers with a bachelor’s degree.

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Presented in Session 160: Educational Achievement and Attainment