NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Luke W. Pardue

Department of Economics
University of Maryland
3114 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Maryland

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2020College Attainment, Income Inequality, and Economic Security: A Simulation Exercise
with Brad Hershbein, Melissa Schettini Kearney: w26747
We conduct an empirical simulation exercise that gauges the plausible impact of increased rates of college attainment on a variety of measures of income inequality and economic insecurity. Using two different methodological approaches—a distributional approach and a causal parameter approach—we find that increased rates of bachelor’s and associate degree attainment would meaningfully increase economic security for lower-income individuals, reduce poverty and near-poverty, and shrink gaps between the 90th and lower percentiles of the earnings distribution. However, increases in college attainment would not significantly reduce inequality at the very top of the distribution.
 
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