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Higher Education and Local Educational Attainment: Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges

We investigate how the presence of a college affects local educational attainment using historical natural experiments in which "runner-up" locations were strongly considered to become college sites but ultimately not chosen for as-good-as-random reasons. While runner-up counties have since had opportunity to establish their own colleges, winners are still more likely to have a college today. Using this variation, we find that winning counties today have college degree attainment rates 58% higher than runner-up counties and have larger shares of employment in high human capital sectors. These effects are not driven primarily by college employees, migration, or local development.

Keywords
Post-secondary educational attainment; inequality
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/y9mc-gt63

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Russell, Lauren, Lei Yu, and Michael J. Andrews. (). Higher Education and Local Educational Attainment: Evidence from the Establishment of U.S. Colleges. (EdWorkingPaper: 21-449). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/y9mc-gt63

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