Gender Differences in College Effects on Employment across Economic Context

Matthew K. Curry, University of California, Los Angeles

Seven years after the Great Recession began, the labor market has still not fully recovered. Empirical evidence suggests that the negative effects of the recession were not uniform across the population. In fact, employment losses were greatest among men and the less-educated. However, it is unclear whether college acted as a buffer during tough economic times or whether differences between educational groups are due to selection bias, where the most able both graduate college and obtain good jobs. It is also unclear whether any treatment effects of college differ by gender. Using NLSY-97 data and doubly robust estimation, I test whether treatment effects of college completion are responsive to changes in economic context for young men and for young women. Preliminary results suggest gender differences in college’s protective effect during recessions, with the average young man benefiting most from college during poor economic contexts.

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Presented in Session 81: Race and Gender Inequalities Following the Great Recession