Department of Sociology
Perceptions of College Value in an Era of Growing Female Advantage
In the United States, women have made significant gains in education over a time period in which men’s educational gains have stagnated. These trends have contributed to the decline and subsequent reversal of the longstanding gender gap in education. Due to a combination of factors, as early as the 1980s women began to earn more bachelor’s degrees than men, a trend that has continued to the present. In 1960, roughly 15 percent of men ages twenty-six to twenty-eight had earned bachelor’s degrees compared to only 8 percent of women. By 2010, women had surpassed men’s college completion rate by over eight percentage points. In this project, I examine the ways in which women’s college completion rates in the United States influence public perception of college value and how it is associated with labor market consequences. This original survey experiment will enhance our understanding of our gender progress can become an unintended disadvantage in the labor market. Moreover, the project will be valuable research evidence for policymakers aimed at understanding and addressing persistent inequality between women and men.